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The Colorado River one of the greatest natural wonders of the world is a river of many different extremes from the barren deserts of Mexico to the huge mountains of Colorado This great river is born about 10000 feet in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and flows southwest for 1470 miles to the Gulf of California Sea of Cortez in Mexico It is the international boundary for 17 miles between Arizona and Mexico Before the construction of a number of dams along its route it flowed 80 miles through Mexico to the Gulf of California The 1360 miles of its route in the United States makes it the nations fifth longest river It drains a large portion of the North American continent covering 242000 square miles in the United States and 3000 square miles in Mexico The Colorado and its tributaries drain southwestern Wyoming and western Colorado parts of Utah Nevada New Mexico and California and almost all of Arizona Three fourths of the basin is federal land devoted to national forests and parks and Indian reservations For more than 1000 miles the upper and middle portions of the Colorado River and its tributaries the Virgin Kanab Paria Escalante Dirty Devil and Green rivers from the west the Little Colorado San Juan Dolores and Gunnison from the east these cut a spectacular labyrinth of deep gorges The longest and most spectacular of these canyons is the magnificent Grand Canyon extending from the mouth of the Paria to Grand Wash Stream Canyonlands National Park encompasses another of these regions at the juncture of the Green and Colorado rivers in southeastern Utah The lower Colorado River separates two great deserts the Mojave on the California western side and the Sonoran on the Arizona eastern side The Gila River drains the Sonoran South of the Mojave Desert lies the Salton Basin a large structural depression 235 feet below sea level extending 150 miles northwest from the head of
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