Grand Canyon History

Grand Canyon National Park is a living museum of geologic and human history. Sheer cliff walls showcase several layers of rock stratification dating back millions of years. Limestone, sandstone, and shale are all readily visible, giving insight into prehistory to both scientists and modern-day explorers. Fossils from times before human inhabitants are still found today.

Evidence of Native American habitation starts to appear on the Grand Canyon timeline after the retreat of the most recent Ice Age. Various tribes called the region home for thousands of years. Living spaces were carved out of canyon walls, what would come to be known as the Colorado River was a constant source of water, and the land provided plenty of game for survival.

The first European explorers did not successfully navigate the Grand Canyon until the mid-19th century. Their initial reports claimed the land was seemingly valueless, and relatively few pioneering spirits ventured to the region. The first map of the area was printed in the 1880s, and populations generally steer clear of developing near the Grand Canyon.

Recent history has been formed by the idealism of those early explorers. Wild, scenic, untamed country is still a source of pride for so many in the United States. Visitors flock to the park today to experience a sense of wonder. The fact that few amenities exist outside of the ones provided by the United States National Parks Service allows them to feel connected to a truly historic landscape.