The Grand Canyon Forest Reserve was established on Feb. 20, 1893. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Canyon a national monument under the Antiquities Act. Congress declared the Canyon a national park in 1919, three years after the National Park Service was formed.
The 277-mile long, one-mile deep canyon covers a total of 1,900 square miles. It was discovered in 1540 by Spanish explorer Don Lopez de Cardenas, a captain in Coronado’s expedition.
One-and-one-half kilometers below the South Rim, the Colorado River flows at an average speed of four miles per hour. Averaging 300 feet wide and 100 feet deep, the river flows west through the Canyon, bends south and empties into the Gulf of California in Mexico.