The first Europeans visited the Grand Canyon in 1540 when García López de Cárdenas led a small band of men in search of a river which they hoped would provide navigation to the Gulf of Califonia. Local Hopi leaders took Cárdenas and his men to the highest point above the canyon. Cárdenas estimated that the Colorado River was approximately 6 feet wide and that the other side of the canyon rim was a mere 8 miles away.
He sent three men into the canyon to access the river, but they only made it one-third of the way down. After an initial descent of 1,500 ft, the men realized that the river was wider than estimated and much further away. Cárdenas abandoned the search and turned instead towards Texas, leaving the Grand Canyon untouched for another 235 years.
Humans have lived in and around the Grand Canyon for over 13,000 years. Today, eleven Native American tribes claim this part of the world as their homeland.