Rivers of New York. Photo: KnowInsiders
Rivers of New York. Photo: KnowInsiders

These are the ten longest rivers that flow through the state of New York. The criteria for ranking on this list is the total length of a river, not just the length of the river flowing in New York State.

The List of 10 Longest and Beautiful Rivers in New York

Rank River Length (miles) Length (km)
1 Saint Lawrence River 744 1,197
2 Susquehanna River 464 747
3 Allegheny River 325 523
4 Hudson River 315 507
5 Delaware River 301 484
6 Genesee River 157 253
7 Mohawk River 149 240
8 Raquette River 146 235
9 Oswegatchie River 137 220
10 Black River 125 201

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Which are the 10 Longest and Beautiful Rivers in New York?

1. Saint Lawrence River

Photo: Britannica
Photo: Britannica

Saint Lawrence River is a large river that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, forming the Great Lakes Basin’s primary drainage outflow. It begins at the outflow of Lake Ontario and flows through several towns and cities in Canada and the US before draining into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. In New York, the river passes through Morristown, Ogdensburg, and Massena. It is also part of an international boundary between the US state of New York and Ontario, Canada. From the furthest headwaters to the mouth, Saint Lawrence River runs for approximately 1,900 miles and from the outflow, at Lake Ontario, it runs for approximately 744 miles.

2. Susquehanna River

Photo: York Daily Record
Photo: York Daily Record

The Susquehanna River is the 16th longest river in the US at 464 miles and drains into the Atlantic Ocean. The river is formed from two major branches; the North Branch and the West Branch. The North Branch is considered as the headwaters and rises in Cooperstown in New York while the West Branch rises in Pennsylvania and merge the North Branch near Northumberland in central Pennsylvania. Susquehanna River drains an area of over 27,000 square miles including almost half of Pennsylvania.

3. Allegheny River

Photo: PA Great Outdoors
Photo: PA Great Outdoors

The Allegheny River is a major tributary of the Ohio River. Located in the Eastern US, it joins the Monongahela River to form Ohio River. Allegheny River is about 325 miles long. It runs through the states of Pennsylvania and New York and drains an area of approximately 11,580 square miles. The river rises on Cobb Hill in Central Pennsylvania and flows through Western New York before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico via Mississippi and Ohio River. The river is characterized by several tunnels throughout its course including the Allegheny River Tunnel that went into service in 2012.

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4. Hudson River

Photo: Viator
Photo: Viator

Hudson River is the fourth-longest river in the US at 315 miles. The river flows from north to south through New York and originates from the Adirondack Mountains. It flows through the Hudson Valley before draining into the Atlantic Ocean. From the source to its confluence with Calamity Brook, the river is called Feldspar Brook and from the Calamity Brook to Indian Pass Brook it is named Calamity Brook. It is then named Hudson River from that point on.

5. Delaware River

Photo: Upper Delaware Council
Photo: Upper Delaware Council

Both the East and West Branches of the Delaware River start in New York State. The West Branch begins on Mount Jefferson in Schoharie County, and the East Branch begins in the town of Roxbury in Delaware County.

The branches meet near the New York and Pennsylvania border just north of Hancock, and then the Delaware River forms the border between the two states for roughly 80 miles, before the Delaware trades New York for New Jersey at Port Jervis. In total, the Delware River flows 301 miles from New York State to where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Delaware Bay.

6. Genesee River

Photo: Pixels
Photo: Pixels

The Genesee River begins in Ulysses Township in northwestern Pennsylvania near the New York border a few miles south of Genesee, Pennsylvania. The Genesee River then flows north 157 miles to where it drains into Lake Ontario at Rochester, New York. The Genesee River carved out what is known as the Grand Canyon of the East in Letchworth State Park on its way to Lake Ontario.

7. Mohawk River

Photo: The Daily Gazette
Photo: The Daily Gazette

The Mohawk River is a 149-mile-long (240 km) river in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest tributary of the Hudson River. The Mohawk flows into the Hudson in Cohoes, New York, a few miles north of the city of Albany. The river is named for the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. It is a major waterway in north-central New York. The largest tributary, the Schoharie Creek, accounts for over one quarter (26.83%) of the Mohawk River's watershed. Another main tributary is the West Canada Creek, which makes up for 16.33% of the Mohawk's watershed.

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8. Raquette River

Photo: Fine Art America
Photo: Fine Art America

The Raquette River, sometimes spelled Racquette, originates at Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains in New York. 146 miles (235 km) long, it is the third-longest river entirely in the state of New York.

The river is a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking. It passes through many natural and man-made lakes to its final destination at Akwesasne on the Saint Lawrence River. The river is the source of 27 hydroelectric plants operated by Brookfield Power, which at capacity can produce up to 181 megawatts of power.

Historically, the river was a part of the "Highway of the Adirondacks", by which it was possible to travel hundreds of miles by canoe or guideboat with short stretches of portage connecting various waterways. This route is still followed by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a 740-mile (1,190 km) canoe trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent in Maine. It is also the basis of the route of the Adirondack Canoe Classic, a three-day, 90-mile canoe race from Old Forge to Saranac Lake.

9. Oswegatchie River

Photo: St. Lawrence County Trails
Photo: St. Lawrence County Trails

The Oswegatchie River runs 137 miles entirely through New York from its sources in the Adirondack Mountains to where it flows into the Saint Lawrence River. There are a few waterfalls along the Oswegatchie River, including the High Falls of the Oswegatchie River pictured above.

10. Black River

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

The Black River flows 125 miles entirely through New York from its sources in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains to where it flows into the Saint Lawrence River. My aunt lived along the Black River for most of her life and we used to fish in the river as kids whenever we visited her. The Black River is a large river and also has waterfalls along it including the Great Falls pictured above.

Management Of New York's Rivers

The rivers in New York are managed through programs and activities that aim to protect and restore the quality of water in the state. These programs include action agendas, local actions, commissions and partnerships that vary in scope. Some of the programs focus on the entire or multiple drainage basins while others focus locally on small parts of the larger rivers. Lakes and other water bodies are also managed alongside the rivers and streams.

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