Top 10 Deepest Rivers in the United States Top 10 Deepest Rivers in the United States
Top 11 Longest Rivers in the World - Interesting Facts Top 11 Longest Rivers in the World - Interesting Facts
Longest River in the US. Photo: KnowInsiders
Longest River in the US. Photo: KnowInsiders
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Summer in certain parts of the United States isn't complete without a trip to the river or two (or twenty). Under the hot sun, float trips with a full cooler of cold drinks. Camping on a river bank, sleeping under a star-studded sky. More fishing, more fishing, and more fishing.

Each river in the United States has its own beauty, personality, and story. These magnificent bodies of water provide humanity with food, security, and transportation.

When you hear the word "longest," you might think of the Mississippi River, but it is not the longest river in the United States.

What is the Longest River in America Today?

The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States, running just west of Bozeman, Montana. The Missouri River crosses seven states: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. The river begins in Montana at the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers. It empties into the Mississippi River, its main tributary, just north of St. Louis, Missouri.

The Missouri River is 2,466 miles long, while the Mississippi River is 2,340 miles long, separated by about a hundred miles.

The Missouri River is known as the "Center of Life" in the Great Plains because it has provided millions with food, trade, transportation, and exploration over the years. It had a significant impact on American culture in the past and continues to do so in the present and future. The Missouri River watershed contains at least one-fourth of the agricultural land in the United States.

Quick Facts Missouri River - The Longest River In America

⇒ For over 12,000 years, the Missouri River has served many different purposes to the locals living around it. The river and its tributaries have become a means of transportation, water source, irrigation, and fishing.

⇒ Many believe that the Missouri River formed around 30 million years ago. Yet, due to its changes in course as time passes by, the current period of the river is estimated to be 115,000 years old.

⇒ The river was accidentally spotted and discovered in 1673 when two French explorers named Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette were floating along the Mississippi River.

⇒ In 1804, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, along with 40 other men in their crew, were the first to travel the entire length of the Missouri River.

⇒ An estimated population of 10 million people lives in the basin of the Missouri River. This number includes residents from 10 states, a small region in Canada, and 28 Native American tribes.

⇒ There is a 100-mile-long area designated along the South Dakota and Nebraska borders as the Missouri National Recreation Area, allowing tourists and locals to fish, boat, and enjoy recreational water activities.

⇒ Several national parks are located within the Missouri River watershed, including Glacier National Park, Badlands National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.

⇒ The Missouri River is the 15th longest river in the world.

⇒ The river has many nicknames, including “Big Muddy,” “Dark River,” “Wide Missouri,” “Father of Rivers,” and “Pekitanoui.”


In honor of the great times spent and the great times waiting to be had, here’s a list of the longest rivers in the United States.

Top 10 Longest And Most Beautiful Rivers in the US

1. Missouri River

Photo: Roadtrippers
Photo: Roadtrippers

The Missouri River, also known as "Big Muddy," is the longest river in the United States. Over 95 significant tributaries contribute to its staggering 2,341-mile length, including the Platte River, Kansas River, Milk River, Yellowstone River, and James River. Native Americans like the Blackfeet, Hidatsa, and Crow have lived in the region near the upper Missouri River for millennia.

The Missouri River, regarded as the "Center of Life" for the Great Plains, has provided millions of people with access to exploration, food, trade, and transportation over thousands of years. The Missouri River watershed contains about one-fourth of all agricultural land in the United States and produces more than one-third of the nation's wheat, flax, barley, and oats.

Despite being slightly longer than the Mississippi River, the Missouri River only drains 529,200 square miles, which includes portions of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. However, the Mississippi River drains 1.2 million square miles, or about 40% of the continental United States, including portions of 32 states and two Canadian provinces. The two rivers carry more water than any other American river when they are combined as tributaries.

2. Mississippi River

Photo: Pikist
Photo: Pikist

The Mississippi River flows through the United States for 3778 kilometers. Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota serves as its source. 160 kilometers south of New Orleans, at the stream's mouth, where it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

As he travels, the Mississippi River flows through eight U.S. States: Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana, almost the entire U.S. territory from north to south. It is connected to the aforementioned Missouri Louis at St. One of the world's largest estuary areas is the Mississippi Delta, which is located in New Orleans.

Top 3 Most Mysterious Legends On Mississippi River Top 3 Most Mysterious Legends On Mississippi River

3. Yukon

Photo: World Wildlife Fund Canada
Photo: World Wildlife Fund Canada

The Yukon River, which is 1,979 miles long, is the third-longest river in the US. The name Yukon, which means Great River, is derived from the Gwich'in language. The Bering Sea serves as the river's mouth. In all of Alaska, it is the longest river. Despite its length, the Yukon River basin is one of North America's least developed and sparsestly populated areas.

However, because of the abundance of mineral deposits it contains, the river is still vital. Since the infamous Klondike gold rush in the late 1890s, when it was known to have abundant mineral wealth. Due to the limited transportation options available through this river, the mining activity has had little of an impact on development.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Rivers in the World Top 10 Most Beautiful Rivers in the World

Rivers have been an extremely essential part of people’s lives throughout centuries in all parts of the world, and undoubtedly they are incredibly charming.

4. Rio Grande

Photo: WildEarth Guardians
Photo: WildEarth Guardians

One of the longest rivers in the USA is the Rio Grande, also known as the "Big River". Its 1,759-mile length ends at the Gulf of Mexico at its mouth. In the western portion of the Rio Grande National Forest in the US state of Colorado, the Rio Grande rises. Red River, San Juan River, Rio Alamo, Rio Salado, Devils River, Pecos River, and Santa Fe River are some of the river's well-known tributaries. The river is formed by the joining of several streams at the base of Canby Mountain in the San Juan Mountains. Despite the fact that diversions have reduced the river's water flow and diminished its significance today, during the American Civil War, this was the only recognized port of the Confederacy.

A total of 2,100,000 acres of cropland receive water from the river, excluding the areas irrigated above the reservoirs. Mining (including the production of petroleum, natural gas, coal, uranium ore, silver, lead, gold, potash, and gypsum), agriculture, and animal husbandry are the main economic sectors in the Rio Grande region. The Rio Grande's sections, which include two designated National Wild & Scenic River stretches, two National Monuments, and a National Park, are among the most beautiful in all of America.

5. Colorado

The Colorado River rises in the Rocky Mountain National Park in the U.S. State of Colorado. It flows from the Rocky Mountains to Utah and Arizona. It flows of the Colorado to Mexico and between the States of Baja California and Sonora in the Gulf of California.

The Colorado is 2330 Kilometers long and is the Pennywort for agriculture, Drinking water- and electricity supply in the southwest of the United States. A sad record was, however 2013 achieved, as the Colorado River place 1 of the ten most endangered rivers in the United States was set.

6. Arkansas

Photo: State Department
Photo: State Department

The Mississippi River serves as the mouth of the 1,443-mile-long Arkansas River, the sixth-longest river in the United States. Near Leadville, in the center of Colorado, the rises past the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. The United States' westward expansion has depended heavily on this river. Native Americans used to have access to hunting grounds along its entire length. Early explorers also traveled along the river's westward course.

The Arkansas River served as the border between Mexico and the United States between the years 1820 and 1846. It has kept improving the farmland fertility in the central states. The inland waterway system that extends southeast from the Tulsa Port of Catoosa through Oklahoma and Arkansas to the Mississippi River includes the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

7. Columbia River

Photo: State Department
Photo: State Department

The Columbia River has its mouth at the Pacific Ocean with a length of 1,243 miles and over a mile wide in some stretches. The river was named for Captain Robert Gray’s ship the Columbia Rediviva. Some of the main tributaries of the Columbia River include Spillimacheen River, Beaver River, Illecillewaet River, Incomappleux River, Kootenay River, Pend Oreille River, Spokane River, Snake River, John Day River, Deschutes River, Willamette River, Kicking Horse River, Blaeberry River, Canoe River, Kettle River, etc. Fishing has been an important activity in the Columbia River for as long as the region has been inhabited.

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8. Red River

Photo: The Texas Tribune
Photo: The Texas Tribune

The Red River is one of the longest rivers in the United States of America even though it is a tributary of the Atchafalaya River. It was formerly a tributary of the Mississippi River before joining the Atchafalaya River.

The Little Red River, Salt Fork Red River, Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River, North Fork Red River, Washita River, Pease River, Kiamichi River, Little Wachita River, Sulphur River, Loggy Bayou, and Little River are tributaries to the Little Red River. It is one of the larger rivers in the US's southern region, and it has long been considered the border between Texas and Oklahoma.

It is said that until you cross the stunning bridge built over the river, which has since become a popular tourist destination, you can't truly appreciate its size. Some of the most endangered animal species in the US, such as the blue catfish and striped bass, can be found in the Red River. Additionally, it serves as a habitat for migratory birds like belted kingfishers, bald eagles, geese, golden eagles, ducks, and Great blue herons.

9. Snake River

Photo: Scenic USA
Photo: Scenic USA

The Snake River is 1,078 miles long. The river lives up to its name as it travels a complicated route to get to its final destination. It rises in the mountains of the Continental Divide near the southeast corner of Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming, flows through the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, through the rugged Hells Canyon area via northeastern Oregon, and then through the rolling Palouse Hills to reach its mouth near the Washington Tri-Cities area, where it enters the Columbia.

The Hoback River, Salt River, Portneuf River, Henrys Fork, Malad River, Boise River, Payette River, Weiser River, Salmon River, Clearwater River, and Palouse River are just a few of the more than 20 significant tributaries that feed into the Snake River.

10. Ohio River

Photo: World Atlas
Photo: World Atlas

The Ohio River is the Mississippi River's biggest left tributary. Pittsburgh is where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge to create it. It flows close to Cairo along the upper Mississippi River's 1579-kilometer-long Ohio River. Most of the East of the United States was drained by the Ohio. 14 Federal States, including those on the East Coast's most southerly coast, are included in its catchment area.

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