How Deep Is The Colorado River?
The mighty Colorado River, the "Lifeline of the Southwest," is the sixth longest river in the United States. Have you ever asked yourself, "How deep is it?"
It's probably safe to say that most of us assume it isn't very deep. Then again, a lot can happen in 1,440 miles.
Plenty of Debate on the Depth of the Colorado River
Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to this question. The Colorado River covers a ton of ground, literally, from the Colorado plateaus into southeastern Utah, northwestern Arizona, the Grand Canyon, and ultimately, the Gulf of Mexico.
At 1,440 miles in length, it's the sixth among the 135 United States rivers more than 100 miles long.
Various Depths Along the Colorado River
Conduct a little research on the depth of the Colorado River, and you'll come up with varying numbers from multiple sources.
According to the usgs.gov report, River Basins of the United States: The Colorado, the river is "...about 30 feet in depth in the lower reaches of the Grand Canyon. The report adds, "It's not more than 10 feet in the upper reaches above the [sic] Grand Junction."
On The Other Hand...
The website AZ Animals asks, "How Deep Is The Colorado River?" This report, published July 25, 2022, states, "Researchers and scientists are still trying to come up with more definitive conclusions about the Colorado River’s depth. Even the Grand Canyon river guides couldn’t come up with an answer when tourists asked them the question."
According to AZ Animals, new studies suggest the average depth of the Colorado River measures 20 feet. There are, however, holes underneath the river's surface as deep as 90 feet. They add geologist Matt Kaplinski from Northern Arizona University presented data suggesting the river is 25 feet deep, with the deepest point reaching 87 feet.
It's Measured Far Less
A number of years ago, Western Colorado experienced a severe drought, and with it, the Colorado River was practically non-existent as it passed through Grand Junction. It was so low, I felt it necessary to conduct a not-entirely-empirical experiment. Accompanied by my faithful companion Fluffy, we attempted to forge the Colorado River without getting our feet wet. Given the desperately-low level of the river, it seemed possible.
The Future Of Mapping the Colorado River
AZ Animals adds, "From Phantom Ranch to National Canyon, the researchers will keep mapping 240 miles of the Colorado River to collect more data and eventually provide a more precise and accurate representation of the river’s depth."