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10 Longest rivers in the USA (with photos)

    What are the longest rivers in the USA? Well, in this article I will tell you exactly that! Whether you are planning a trip to one of the longest rivers in the USA or you simply want to learn more, then this post is for you… keep scrolling to learn more.

    10 Longest Rivers in the USA

    Are you going to hit the grounds of the “Land of Liberty” in the coming summers to visit the longest rivers in the USA, but not sure where to begin the voyage? Here, you will uncover the longest rivers from the perspective of their water flows and the area they cover.

    Indeed, the longest rivers in the USA carry awe-inspiring and heavenly beauty that attracts locals and travellers worldwide. Along with enchanting natural beauty, the river’s destinations are full of recreational activities, restaurants, play studios, and cottages for a night’s stay. The perfect destination to drop in for vacations.

    1.    Missouri River

    Longest rivers in the USA

    The Missouri River is the longest river in the USA as it streams out a water flow of 2,341 miles from Western Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. The river covers the prominent seven states of the USA.

    The headwater starts from the Eastern Centennial Mountains of Montana, then moves to the East, hitting the states of North Dakota. Then it turns to the South and touches the state of South Dakota. In the curves, it crosses the states of Nebraska, then Lowa, and then Kansas to Missouri.

    The river’s water is utilised to irrigate America’s agricultural grounds and supply water sources for humans and animals. The river is mainly used to transport goods from one region to another.

    You must be thinking as a tourist if you’ll be able to view the Missouri River, one of the USA’s longest rivers, in one trip. What if I revealed a trick?

    One of the best ways to explore the wonders of the river, as well as the historical and recreational attractions of more than eleven US states, is to travel along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The route begins near Montana and leads you along with other states to Missouri.

    You will see many things on your journey, including bridges, dams, small lakes and streams, historical places, badlands, dry plains, and much more.

    2.    Mississippi River

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    Among the longest rivers in the USA, the Mississippi is the second largest river, carrying water 2,340 miles from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the most substantial river in the country.

    The river is well-liked by locals and visitors for various strange reasons. First, it is one of the American rivers where traditional Native Americans, including hunters and gatherers, once lived. More significantly, the river touches and traverses up to 32 US states, including the two watersheds that flow in Canada.

    Water life splendour can be seen all along the Mississippi River. There are more than a hundred different kinds of fish that you can observe, including American paddlefish, freshwater drum, bluegill, bowfin, white bass, sturgeon, walleye, and channel catfish.

    Aside from aquatic life, American alligators, turtles, coyotes, beavers, and deer will also be seen in the river’s nearby woodland. These animals join marine life as familiar riverside residents.

    What more is there for you to do? You can enjoy various water-related activities to get the most out of your trip. Just a few examples are camping, kayaking, boating, and water skiing. For healthy tourism, you can track down national parks and other camping services alongside the river. You’ll be amazed by seeing the thrilling water recreational activities near the longest rivers in the USA.

    3.    Yukon River

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    The Yukon River is the third-longest river in the USA, with a 1,979-mile water flow. It is also one of the rivers that are not entirely in the USA. The river starts as a stream between the Canadian province of British Columbia’s mountains and courses across the USA-Canada border. It touches Alaskan territory after crossing the border and travels toward the Bering Sea.

    There are many reasons why the Yukon River is well-known among residents and visitors. It offers scenic beauty and a wide variety of wild and marine life.

    According to the National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll come across many various species of fish, such as rainbow trout, Alaska blackfish, halibut, northern pike, whitefish, tomcod, shellfish, burbot, Dolly Varden trout, and others.

    In addition to its natural appeal, many leisure pursuits will keep you occupied and active, including kayaking, boating, and swimming through the waves of the water. You’ll be touring the old buildings and cabins close to the Yukon River. Although tourists also enjoy trekking and camping near the forests of the longest rivers in the USA.

    If you want to enjoy the winter, discover the winter activities close to the Yukon, and don’t forget to go for dog mushing.

    4.    Rio Grande

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    With a stream of 1,759 miles from Colorado, the USA, to the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande becomes the Fourth longest river in the USA. The river stem of the Rio Grande is also not entirely in the USA.

    The water flow begins from the San Juan Range, Colorado, and passes through New Mexico to hit the Chihuahua state of Mexico. Then it moves north-south to fall into the Gulf of Mexico. Overall, the river travels up to seven states of the USA and Mexico. It provides various types of water recreation, similar to other longest rivers in the USA.

    The Hot Springs Canyon Trail should be included in your bucket list as a destination near the Rio Grande River. The rock formation between the stream flow provides the trail with its beauty. The mountains you should see along the river are Chisos Mountain and Del Carmen Mountain. It is the ideal location for summer vacation.

    5.    Colorado River

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    The Colorado River’s main stem is located primarily in the USA, where it flows through up to seven US states before hitting the territory of two Mexican states. The main stem, the fifth-longest river in the USA, travels 1,450 miles from Rocky Mountain, Colorado, to the Gulf of California.

    The river is segmented into upper and lower sections. The upper basin stem runs through Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah crosses Lake Mead and enters the lower basin, which runs through Arizona, California, and Nevada.

    The Colorado River is too vast to cross in a single day. Despite this, there are two places that you must visit while travelling to the Colorado river: the Colorado River Grand Canyon and the Colorado River Rafting Trip.

    No other natural wonders compare to the Grand Canyon in terms of beauty. The river’s blue water is hidden by the rocky formation mountains, which also create uncharted routes for travellers.

    Jet Boat racing is the most popular water activity in the National Parks along the Colorado River. On the opposite side, waterskiing, kayaking, and swimming will be available to brighten your day.

    6.    Arkansas River

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    Water flows 1,443 miles from the Sawatch and Mosquito Mountains in Colorado to the territory of Kansas before descending to the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas. That makes the Arkansas River the sixth-longest river in the country. It is particularly well-known for its structure and the magnitude of its tributaries. The river’s stem and basin remain in the USA and do not flow into other countries.

    The Arkansas River, like other rivers, provides a haven for a variety of fish species, including white bass, redear sunfish, bluegill sunfish, largemouth bass, blue catfish, striped sunfish, sauger, and others.

     Arkansas River Valley is one of the best riverside destinations that you can visit. Resources are available for both mountain hiking and woodland camping. Likewise, the most popular recreational activities include tubing, swimming, and kayaking. However, whitewater rafting is one of the most popular tourist activities on the Arkansas River.

    7.    Columbia River

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    The seventh longest river in the USA is the Columbia River. It has its source at Columbia Lake, Canada, and travels throughout Washington and Oregon, USA. It creates two borders; the western border with Oregon and the eastern border of Washington. The river streams out the water flow about 2,200 miles.

    The Columbia River is another river that does not flow entirely in America. Despite this, the river irrigates a significant chunk of agricultural land. Water is also used to generate electricity and mitigate flood damage.

    During most of history, the Columbia River has served as a crucial channel for trade. Before the explorers, the native Americans used to live near the riverbanks of the river. They also used the river for transportation and other water sources.

    Since ancient times, travellers have enjoyed visiting the Columbia River and exploring the majestic beauty of the river.

    Numerous beautiful aquatic species can be seen in the river. Alligators are not found in the Washington area, but a few can be spotted in the Congaree River’s canal. The Columbia River trip is incomplete without seeing the salmon runs and the river’s numerous hydropower dams. Add these two things to your bucket list along with other water activities.

    8.    Red River

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    Among the other longest rivers in the USA, the Red River ranks as the eighth-largest river. It is used to nourish a diverse range of crops. It disperses its stress over a distance of 1,125 miles. There are myriad tributaries, streams, and lagoons along the Red River, which has a convoluted flow rate. But even so, it originates in Texas and extends to the neighboring US states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

    You’ll be amazed to see the magnificent variety of fish species in the Red River. It includes bullhead, carp, muskellunge, goldeye, walleye, smallmouth bass, mooneye, and other types. In birds, you’ll encounter waterfowl migrates and pheasants. However, white-tailed deer will be seen in the forest area near the riverbanks.

    You could make a stop close to the National parks and Springs to extend your journey. Along with camping opportunities, the river offers a variety of activities, such as mountain hiking, bicycling, tubing, and boating. There are also lots of kid-friendly play areas and snack joints readily available.

    9.    Snake River

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    Snake River lies in ninth place with a water flow of 1,040 miles. The river begins its flow from the western headwater of Wyoming. Then touches the borders of Idaho before it terminates at the Columbia River.

    Including the numerous species of the fishes, you will observe Osprey and Eagles in the sky above the Snake River. Though in the forest and near the riverbanks, you will encounter deer, coyotes, Moose, Mountain goats, Elk, and many other animals.

    Like other longest rivers in the USA, the primary use of the river is to irrigate the land. However, as a tourist, you will wonder about the beauty of the river and the mountains surrounding it.

    You could stop near the Snake River Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park to get more out of your trip. These are just a few places, although you will find more parks and areas for hiking, tubing, swimming, and fishing. 

    10.Ohio River

    Longest Rivers In The USA

    The Ohio River initiates its flow from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, runs up to 981 miles, and terminates its flow at Cairo, Illinois. That makes it the tenth-longest river in the USA. During its stream, it creates the border with six states of the USA: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.

    The Ohio is one of the longest rivers in the USA, and the river is famous due to the formation of the largest tributaries, its vast drainage basin, and its usage as a drinking water source for more than six million people. On the other hand, the Ohio River is home to more than 160 fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, and many others.

    Including local and historical attractions near the Ohio river, you can also see the majestic waterfall in the Ohio river. Likewise, you can set up a camp near the river bank and go hiking, swimming, boating, and kayaking.

    Moreover, to get more out of your trip, stop near the Ohio River Museum and visit Ohio River Island for more fun in and around one of the longest rivers in the USA.

    Longest Rivers In The USA: Final Thoughts

    The longest rivers in the USA are famous for two main reasons; irrigation and tourism. Indeed, the watershed of the rivers helps to provide for the nation’s basic needs. It keeps everything lively, sourcing human, animal, or marine life.

    Likewise, recreational water has the magnetic power to attract locals and tourists from all across the world. It is no longer wonder what makes the water polluted, the empty plastic bottles, bags, and other leftovers creating the river less likeable. Despite this, government and private institutes are trying to clean and save the rivers’ enchanted beauty and inhabitants’ magnificence.

    Is there anything about the longest rivers in the USA that I have missed out? If so, let me know in the comments below!

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