History of Whitewater Rafting in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting History

big whitewater with Grand Canyon rafting trips Archaeological evidence confirms that Native Americans have occupied the Grand Canyon for over 10,000 years. Throughout that time natives would traverse the Colorado River as needed in sturdy, hand-carved canoes, but whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon as we know it today is a relatively new activity. The 16th century ?Age of Discovery? produced a thirst for exploration and a hunger for gold. In 1540, Spanish soldiers became the first non-native people to explore the canyon. These Spanish soldiers, led by Captain Garcia Lopez de Cardenas, arrived in the canyon nearly 500 years ago, in 1540. Their mission was to discover the mythical and elusive Cibola, known to adventurers and conquistadors as the Seven Cities of Gold. They began their expedition at the South Rim, accompanied by Hopi Native American guides. Nothing in the explorers? experience could have prepared them for the sheer size and vastness of this beautiful painted landscape. The search lasted three years and, though the fabled village was never found, the expedition put the Grand Canyon on the map. Today, you can experience the Spanish solders? wonder and search for your own legendary Cibola on our lower canyon raft trip options. [iframe id="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YBYvCJLb7tE?rel=0" align="center" mode="normal" autoplay="no" aspect_ratio="16:9" maxwidth="700" grow="no"] The first mission to accurately and scientifically explore the Grand Canyon wasn?t commenced for another 300 years after the Spanish explorers? foray. In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell, a Civil War veteran, courageously voyaged down the Colorado?s whitewater, through the Grand Canyon, with the intention of mapping it. Up until that point, the canyon was peculiarly absent from any Western United States maps. Major Powell and his team whitewater rafted through the Grand Canyon, much as we do today. Be a part of history and book the most popular raft trip today on our full canyon motor trip to experience the Grand Canyon much the same as Major Powell did when he mapped the Colorado River nearly 150 years ago. Finally in 1923, the US Geological Survey conducted the first instrument survey of the Grand Canyon section of the Colorado River. By the mid-20th century, only about 100 people are documented to have navigated the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The second half of the 20th century brought dramatic changes in the way of tourism to the canyon. The sparse number of river rafters willing to circumnavigate the Colorado through the Grand Canyon went up dramatically when army-surplus inflatable rafts became available. Today?s familiar commercial river running was founded by the late and great Georgie White Clark. She used the army-surplus inflatable rafts and introduced many innovations and methods, such as tethering multiple rafts together to maintain stability through large rapids, that whitewater rafting tour guides still use to this day. In 2001, the United States Board on Geographic Names renamed Mile 24 Rapid in her honor. Today, you can honor this amazing Grand Canyon whitewater rafting pioneer by rafting through her rapid on our Upper Grand Canyon Tour. Although much has changed since the days of the Spanish explorers and Major John Wesley Powell, life within the great painted cliffs of the imposing Grand Canyon remains much the same. Experience Canyon history when you book a unique and exhilarating adventure with Advantage Grand Canyon.