This spectacular canyon was created a half to one million years ago, when water from Lake Tecopa escaped and sculpted the ravine. The Amargosa River, a below ground river that surfaces along its route, now flows through the canyon creating valuable wildlife habitat. Under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the canyon attracts numerous birds and animals, including some that are endangered. The Old Spanish Trail passed through between 1830 and 1850, for trade between coastal Spanish settlements and New Mexico. Later, the Tonapah and Tidewater Railroad was built to haul mine ore.