How can you tell how long the rivers in the US are? One of the first ways to do this is to look at each river’s length when compared to others in the country.
There are over 3 million miles of rivers in the United States. And, Each river is special in its own way because they also move fertile soil from one place to another but I’m not here to discuss that.
Here are the top 10 longest rivers in the United States, as well as some other factors that may affect their rank on this list of top rivers by length.
Top 10 Longest Rivers In The US
10) Ohio River
The Ohio River runs through 10 states and it’s 881 miles long.
It begins as a small creek at Ohiopyle State Park, which is near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States.
The water then travels north until it joins with the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh.
Strong Ohio continues its journey down to Cairo, Illinois where it meets up with yet another river – The Mississippi River.
As a result of these three rivers meeting, we have what is known as the Big Muddy (or Father of Waters).
This large body of water goes south all of the way to New Orleans where it empties into Galveston Bay.
From there you can imagine how it flows into our oceans around Texas and Louisiana; However, that last part is hard to track… literally!
9) Arkansas River
The Arkansas River is a major branch of the Mississippi River.
Arkansas river generally flows south and east through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Its branches flow north through Missouri. It rises from many short headstreams originating in Colorado.
The river joins with its chief branch, the South Platte River near Pueblo, Colorado then flows across Colorado into Kansas.
It then forms a small part of the border between Kansas and Oklahoma.
Before entering Arkansas where it passes Little Rock and joins with two more branches including Bayou Bartholomew which itself drains most of central Arkansas as well as a good part of eastern Oklahoma.
8) Red River
The Red River rises in eastern Montana, flows south through North Dakota, and forms an intersection with its branch, the Heart River.
At 1,271 miles long, it is considered both America’s 2nd longest river and its 6th largest by volume of water carried.
The Red River drains an area of 181,000 square miles.
Only slightly smaller than that of Alaska—and covers about two-thirds of North Dakota.
It also crosses into parts of South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. before flowing into Canada to join one more tributary on its way to Hudson Bay.
7) Snake River
The Snake River is a river that flows through Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
It’s considered to be one of America’s largest rivers by volume.
When measured at its confluence with branch streams and rivers, it has a length of around 2,720 miles (4192 km).
The Snake River Basin is home to multiple communities.
Many of which depend on it for their livelihoods and economy.
As such, human actions have often risked the environment and possible benefits for both humans and wildlife.
6) The Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is by far America’s largest river.
It travels 1,896 miles through New Mexico, Texas, and part of Mexico to connect with its sister river, the Pecos.
One of its most unique features is that it is a border between two countries.
one-third of it runs through Texas while two-thirds run through Mexico.
It also serves as a boundary between six US states; Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming.
5) Yukon River
The largest river in the U.S is also one of North America’s greatest rivers.
The Yukon River begins at Lake Laberge, near Whitehorse, and runs southeast for 1,710 miles.
The river runs through Canada and into Alaska to become a major branch of the Bering Sea.
The Yukon is passable for about half its length. Along with its branches, it drains an area of about 770,000 square miles – larger than California.
It is estimated that as much as 95% of all water that flows into it eventually leaves via one of its many tributaries. Most notably the Porcupine River and Alsek River.
4) Columbia River
The Columbia River is found in North America and flows roughly 1,200 miles between Canada and Washington state before releasing into Oregon.
At 1,243 miles long, it’s one of the longest rivers in the US region.
The name derives from a Native American word meaning grassy water.
It feeds into 3 major lakes: Lake Roosevelt, Lake Pend Oreille, and Lake Coeur d’Alene.
3) Missouri River
The Missouri River is by far America’s longest river, at about 2,540 miles long.
Missouri originates near Yellowstone National Park.
the river flows south through Montana and South Dakota until it merges with a branch of another large US river: The Mississippi.
At that point, it becomes a part of the Father of Waters and continues to flow southwest until it reaches its end in St. Louis.
2) Mississippi River
A total of 2,320 miles long, The Mississippi River is considered one of North America’s largest rivers.
It extends from Lake Itasca to Cairo, Illinois.
Along its course, it forms a river delta that drains into the Gulf of Mexico at Louisiana’s Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
Because of its length and drainage area, The Mississippi River has a significant impact on weather patterns along its whole length.
Its watershed covers more than half of the country’s land mass, which includes all or part of 31 states and two Canadian provinces.
This river contributes over 20% of all freshwater entering oceans worldwide!
This powerful river was first explored by Europeans in 1673. when French explorers Marquette and Joliet traveled down its waters for 3 months.
1) Colorado River
The Colorado River is a major branch of the Mississippi River.
The 1,450-mile-long river runs through many U.S. states.
It serves as an important source of water for both irrigation and drinking purposes.
Here are some facts about one of America’s largest rivers
Length: It is 486 miles long (781 km) from its headwaters to its intersection with the Green River in Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
Source: Its headwaters start at 12,000 feet above sea level on top of La Poudre Pass (11,832 feet), which sits near Rocky Mountain National Park.
It then flows via Glenwood Springs and Grand Lake before it enters Rocky Mountain, National Park.