Where Does The Colorado River Start and End?


The colorado river is a major North American A river that originates in the Rocky Mountains in the US state of Colorado and empties into the Gulf of California. The 1,450 mile long river is the sixth longest river in the United States, crossing seven US states. The Colorado River Basin covers 260,000 square miles, or about 8% of the continent United States. Famous for its spectacular canyons and whitewater rapids, it is one of the most important rivers in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. This long river drains a huge desert watershed that spans seven US states and two Mexican states.

The Colorado River also serves as an important landmark, forming the international border between the United States and Mexico for 17 miles. With all this knowledge about the famous river, we couldn’t help but wonder: where does the Colorado River begin and where does it end? Below, we’ll show you the starting and ending point of the American River and other fascinating facts.

Where does the Colorado River begin?

Although confusing, the Colorado River in Texas does not leave the state.

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The Colorado River originates in Lake La Poudre Pass, a Lake in the Colorado Rockies. The famous river may be a thousand miles long, but it starts small. The Upper Colorado River is a minor watercourse in the northern Colorado Highlands accessible by a short trail. Water is pumped from a lake in La Poudre Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park and goes to Grand Lac and Lac Granby. Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular tourist destination on its own, with 4,670,054 visits in 2019.

Granby is where a lot of the water is redirected. Rather than flowing downstream, it is pumped to homes and businesses on the side of the mountains through a system of tunnels. Although the Colorado River only flows on the west side of the Continental Divide, the river provides nearly half of the water used in the Denver metropolitan area.

The river travels southwest from north-central Colorado through the Colorado Plateau region, the southeast Utahand northwest Arizona, crossing the Grand Canyon. Before entering Mexico in the Colorado desert, it bends south near Las Vegas, Nevadacreating the Arizona-Nevada border in Lake Mead.

Where does the Colorado River end?

The Gulf of California is where the Colorado River empties.

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The Colorado River empties into the Gulf of California and ends in the Sonoran Desert in Mexico shortly before the Gulf.

The Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of ​​Cortez, the Spanish Gulf of California, or the Mar de Cortés, is a huge entrance to the east Pacific Ocean off the northwest coast of Mexico. When it comes to the origins of the Gulf, there are two schools of thought. One theory says it is physically part of the Pacific Ocean, while the other claims Baja California is gradually breaking away from the mainland as it advances north with the huge San Andreas fault system. . The Colorado River enters the Gulf through a broad delta at its head, and the Fuerte, Sonora, Mayo, Sinaloa, and Yaqui rivers enter from the east along a wide coastal plain.

The Gulf of California stretches over 900 miles and is home to the blue whalethe the most massive creature in the world. It is also home to a wide range of marine life, including several reef fish species, the Sharks, turtlesand the vaquitathe smallest in the world porpoise. Full of shrimp, anchovy, sardinesand giant squidthe Gulf of California is Mexico’s most important fishing area, and it is also vital for billfish and Tuna Sport fishing. The magnificent beaches of the Gulf and colorful reefs also attract tourists every year.

Which states does the Colorado River cross?

The Colorado River flows through seven US states: Arizona, New MexicoColorado, California, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah. The water supply, fish, hydroelectric generation, and other benefits of this river are important to all seven states. Its 25 major tributaries also provide water to millions of people in the seven states it passes through. The river crosses eleven National parks, including the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Arches National Park. The Colorado River Basin encompasses the river and its tributaries, including the Green, Gunnison, Little Colorado, San Juan, Virgin, Bill Williams, and Gila rivers and the areas they drain.


The Colorado River begins as a small creek draining a wet meadow on the divide above La Poudre Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park, about 25 miles north of Lake Granby. The Continental Divide separates the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean watersheds in North America, Grand and Larimer counties in Colorado, and the northern boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park near the headwaters of the river.

Unlike the steep mountain gorges above Grand Junction, the Colorado River becomes a meandering river in the Grand Valley. It ranges in width from 200 to 1,200 feet and in depth from 6 to 30 feet, with a few deeper spots. As it enters the Colorado Plateau, the river bends northwest, passing through Fruita and Ruby Canyon. Just before entering Utah, it turns southwest again.


The Colorado River reaches the high desert canyon area of ​​the Colorado Plateau in Utah, rushing rapidly southwest through Westwater Canyon. Near Dewey, it joins the Dolores River, which feeds the west side of the San Juan Mountains with its contributor, the San Miguel. It passes through the Fisher Towers and forms the southern boundary of Arches National Park before entering the Moab Valley. It passes through “The Portal”, a 1,000 foot deep mountain pass just south of Moab.

The San Juan River meets the lake several miles downstream, carrying runoff from the southern slopes of the San Juan Mountains and the Four Corners region in Colorado and New Mexico, and creates a 70-mile arm of the lake. long. Although it generates about one-tenth the flow of the Colorado River, the San Juan is exceptionally muddy, accounting for up to 40% of the total sediment load.


The Glen Canyon Dam, which forms Lake Powell, is located in Page, Arizona, about 15 miles from the Utah border via the river. The Colorado River is impounded by the 710-foot dam, which is primarily used for hydroelectric power generation. The Glen Canyon Bridge, located across the dam, spans the Colorado River and carries US Route 89. The Colorado River runs the last 10 miles of Glen Canyon, cutting through scenic Horseshoe Bend, before abruptly surfacing from its canyons at Lee’s Ferry.

Further downstream, it crosses the Uinkaret Volcanic Zone, where huge lava dams were built millions of years ago by basalt eruptions. The Colorado River then curves sharply south before turning northwest at Peach Springs, exiting the Grand Canyon, where it swells into the upper reaches of Lake Mead. This location also marks the general boundary between the Colorado Plateau and the Mojave Desert. It begins to create the border between Nevada to the north/west and Arizona to the south/east shortly to the west of this point.


With a full capacity of 28,945,000 acre-feet, Lake Mead is the the largest reservoir in the United States, built by the 726-foot-tall Hoover Dam southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. However, the lake has not been filled for many years due to a mix of drought and excessive water use by Colorado River Basin states. The Colorado River turns due south via Black Canyon at the Hoover Dam and will continue in that direction until it reaches the Gulf of California. It passes under the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, the tallest concrete arch bridge in the world, which carries US Route 93 900 feet above the Colorado River.

The Colorado River runs near the mouth of Black Canyon into Lake Mohave, which was formed by Davis Dam at Pyramid Canyon above Laughlin, Nevada. The river then crosses into Arizona, passing through Bullhead City and Fort Mohave, as well as the Fort Mojave Reservation.


For the majority of its journey through the Lower Colorado River Valley (LCRV), the Colorado River serves as the border between California to the west and Arizona to the east. Here, the Colorado River is 700 to 2,500 feet wide and 8 to 100 feet deep. It is gradually losing volume due to evaporation and huge flow rates for irrigation, urban areas, industry and thermoelectric power generation.

How long is the Colorado River?

Slightly longer than Chicago and Miami, the Colorado River is 1,450 miles long.

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The Colorado River stretches 1,450 miles. For comparison, that’s slightly longer than the distance from Chicago to Miami. The distance between Chicago and Miami is 1,384 miles, and Key Largo in the Keys is 1,443 miles, roughly the same distance.

The Colorado River is estimated to be about 20 feet deep on average, but the holes are as deep as 90 feet below the surface. Other sections of the river are only 6 feet deep, with rapids and calm waters. They can record elevation points in the river bed using various current technologies such as aerial photography and multi-beam sonar sensors dropped into the water.


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