10 Longest Rivers in the US

In certain parts of the US, summer isn’t really summer without a trip or two (or 20) to the river. Float trips with a full cooler of cold drinks under the hot sun. Camping at a river lot, sleeping under a clear, star-specked sky. Fishing, fishing, and more fishing. 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. Please note, the exact mileage of the rivers vary between sources, but the order of the list is correct.


Take a look at this list of the top 10 longest rivers in the United States and let us know which one is your favorite!

1. Missouri River

The longest river in North America and fourth longest in the world, the Missouri River starts in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, and travels for 2,341 miles before joining the Mississippi River near St. Louis.

Length – 2,341 miles

Photo from Missouri River Institute
2. Mississippi River

The Great Muddy originates from Lake Itasca in Northern Minnesota and drains into the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi/Missouri river system is considered the fourth longest in the entire world. 

Length – 2,202 miles

Mississippi River Source at Lake Itasca, MN – Photo from Atlas Obscura
3. Yukon River

The source of the Yukon River lies in British Columbia, Canada, then it weaves through the Yukon territory and through Alaska, emptying into the Bering Sea.

Length – 1,979 miles

Photo by Yukon Government
4. Rio Grande River

The Rio Grande serves as a natural border between Texas and Mexico. It begins in Colorado and ends in the Gulf of Mexico.

Length – 1,759 miles

Photo by Ben Masters
5. Colorado River

Starting in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River flows southwest through the Grand Canyon before ending in the Gulf of California.

Length – 1,450 miles

Photo by Ronald Ehrl
6. Arkansas River

The Arkansas River is a tributary of the Mississippi, flowing from Colorado through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

Length – 1,443 miles

Arkansas River near Tulsa
7. Columbia River

The Pacific Northwest’s largest river, the Columbia goes from British Columbia, Canada, down through Washington, passing along the border with Oregon, and dumping out into the Pacific Ocean.

Length – 1,243 miles

Credit: Alan Majchrowicz
8. Red River (of the South)

This river starts in Texas’ top hat, rides along the state’s border with Oklahoma and Arkansas, and then travels through Louisiana before joining the Athcafalaya River.

Length – 1,125 miles

Red River South
Photo from Alchetron.com
9. Snake River

Starting in western Wyoming, this river snakes its way through the Snake River Plain in Idaho, through Hells Canyon and then empties into the Columbia River in Washington. 

Length – 1,040 miles

Photo from visitidaho.org
10. Ohio River

The easternmost river on this list, the Ohio River goes from Pennsylvania all the way to the Mississippi River in southern Illinois. The river serves as the borders of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Length – 979 miles

The Cincinnati skyline on the Ohio River (AP Photo/John Minchillo)


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