Colorado River Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Thomas Philip
In this lesson, you will learn about the beautiful and important Colorado River. We'll find out where the river got its name, learn about its path, and read about the types of animals that live there.

Location of the Colorado River

The Colorado River is one of the most important rivers in the western part of the United States. This river flows through seven different U.S. states, including, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. It also goes into part of Mexico.

Colorado River

Around 30 million people in the cities along the Colorado River's path depend on it as a water source. The Colorado River is 1,450 miles in length, which is about the length of four football fields.

The source of the river, or where it begins, is the state of Colorado. Melting snow from the Rocky Mountains travels down and flows southwest through the Grand Canyon and into Mexico. The Colorado River eventually drains into the Gulf of California, which is part of the Pacific Ocean.

From the Beginning to Now

Spanish explorers named the river 'Rio Colorado,' which means colored river. The river was red because of the red silt, or soil and mud, that it carried down from the mountains.

The Colorado River is the world's largest canyon cutter because over millions of years this river has cut through rocks to create deep canyons. The Grand Canyon in Arizona is the best example of how the Colorado River has cut through rocks that are millions of years old.

Nowadays, you can also find lots of tourists along the river who use it for many fun sports and hobbies, such as fishing and white water rafting.

Horseshoe Bend near Grand Canyon
Horseshoe bend

Wildlife Along the Colorado River

The Colorado River supports humans as well as animals. There are many different types of wildlife that depend on water along the Colorado River. The beaver is one of the largest types of these water dependent animals. Instead of building their dams in the Colorado River, they live on the banks. This is because the water flows too fast for them to make their homes on the river itself.

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