Discover the Longest River in Each of the 50 States

Man standing by the river relaxing on hiking trip.
MargaretW/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Em Thomas

Published: October 24, 2023

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Rivers flow through every single one of the fifty states of the United States of America. Even though each state boasts a unique natural environment, rivers are a constant component of US terrain. Learn the longest rivers that flow through each state, as well as the longest rivers that exist entirely within each state.

Alabama

The Tennessee River used to be called the Cherokee River.

The longest river in Alabama is the Tennessee River. It spans 652 miles long. However, the longest river that is entirely in Alabama is the Alabama River, which is 318 miles in length.

Alaska

Yukon River, Yukon, No People, 2015, Blue

The source of the Yukon River is in British Columbia, Canada.

Alaska’s longest river is the beautiful Yukon River, which spans 1,980 miles in length. However, the longest river that is entirely within the state of Alaska is the Kuskokwim River. This river is 724 miles long.

Arizona

Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River at sunset near Page, Arizona, USA

The Colorado River in Arizona goes through some amazing rock formations. This is the Horseshoe Bend!

The longest river that goes through Arizona is the Colorado River, which is 1,450 miles in length. However, the Little Colorado River is the longest river that’s entirely in Arizona. This river is only 315 miles long.

Arkansas

River Barge Tug

The Mississippi River flows all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Arkansas’s longest river is the incredible Mississippi River. It is 2,320 miles. Of course, the Mississippi spans several states. The longest river in Arkansas that starts and ends within the state is the Saline River, which is 202 miles in length.

California

Yuma, Arizona

The Colorado River moves through five US states, as well as two Mexican states!

California’s longest river is the Colorado River. From start to finish, the Colorado River is 1,450 miles. However, it spans many states. The longest river that is solely in California is the Sacramento River, which is also California’s second-longest river. It’s 447 miles in length.

Colorado

Rio Grande river cutting through large hills covered in bushes and snow on rainy overcast day in rural New Mexico

The Rio Grande is primarily in New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. However, 175 miles of the river flows through Colorado.

Despite having so many states feature the Colorado River as the longest river in their state, Colorado’s longest river is actually the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande is 1,896 miles in length. The Colorado River is actually in third place for the longest river within the state. The longest river completely within Colorado is the Yampa River, which is 250 miles.

Connecticut

View of the Connecticut River From Brattleboro Vermont State Line next to New Hampshire

The Connecticut River flows through many of the states of New England, including Vermont and Massachusetts.

The longest river in Connecticut is the Connecticut River, which spans 407 miles in length. The longest river totally contained within Connecticut, however, is the Farmington River. This river is only 47 miles long!

Delaware

Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C and D Canal) and the Chesapeake City bridge over it

The Delaware River flows along the borders of four states: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Delaware’s longest river is the Delaware River, of course! This river is 301 miles in length. However, much of the Delaware River is in neighboring states. The longest river entirely within Delaware is the Murderkill River, which is 22 miles in length.

Florida

Apalachicola river

The Chattahoochee is a tributary of the Apalachicola River, which isn’t very long.

The longest river within Florida is the Chattahoochee River/Apalachicola River. These rivers total 430 miles in length. The longest river solely within Florida, however, is the St. Johns River, which is 310 miles. The St. Johns River is the second-longest river in Florida overall.

Georgia

a gorgeous summer landscape along the Chattahoochee river with flowing water surrounded by lush green trees, grass and plants with powerful clouds at sunset in Atlanta Georgia USA

The source of the Chattahoochee River is in Georgia. Jacks Gap, in the southeastern corner of the state. is the source.

Georgia’s longest river is the same as Florida’s: the Chattahoochee River! This river is 430 miles in length. The longest river solely in Georgia, however, is the state’s second-longest river overall. That is the Flint River, which is 344 miles in length.

Hawaii

Aerial View of the City of Wailuku on the Island of Maui in Hawaii

Wailuku City, as well as the river, are on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Hawaii has the pleasure of boasting rivers entirely within the state, however, they aren’t terribly long! The longest river in Hawaii is the Wailuku River, which is 28 miles in length.

Idaho

The Time Zone Bridge crosses the Salmon River at Riggins in Idaho, USA

The Time Zone Bridge crosses the Salmon River. On this bridge, you can span two time zones!

Idaho’s longest river is the Snake River. This river is 1,078 miles in length. The longest river solely in Idaho, however, is the Salmon River. The Salmon River reaches 425 miles.

Illinois

Steel Bridge Crossing Illinois River

The Illinois River is a tributary to the Mississippi River. It crosses much of the state of Illinois.

Like many states on this list, the longest river in the state of Illinois is the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is 2,320 miles long. However, the Illinois River, which is the fourth-longest river in the state, is the longest river entirely within Illinois. It’s 332 miles.

Indiana

Ohio river banks along border of Evansville Indiana and Kentucky.

Despite its name, the Ohio River is actually owned by the state of Kentucky.

Indiana’s longest river is the Ohio River. The Ohio River is 981 miles in length. The longest river entirely within Indiana, however, is the White River. This river is Indiana’s third-longest river and spans 362 miles.

Iowa

Upper Iowa River

The Iowa River offers fantastic fishing, both for recreational and commercial uses. Expect to find bass, walleye, and

catfish

in its waters.

The longest river in the state of Iowa is the Missouri River. The Missouri River is 20 feet longer than the Mississippi River, coming in at a total length of 2,340 miles. However, the Iowa River is the longest river in the state, reaching 323 miles in length.

Kansas

Mesmerizing view of a beautiful Missouri river, a bridge at Leavenworth Kansas

The Missouri River is the longest river in the entirety of the United States.

Kansas’s longest river is also the Missouri River, coming in at 2,340 miles in length. The longest river in Kansas that stays within the state’s borders is the Saline River. This 397-mile-long river is the seventh-longest in the state.

Kentucky

Aerial View Of Brent Spence Bridge, Cincinnati Ohio and the traffic snarled highways crossing the Ohio River from Kentucky to Ohio.

The Ohio River is about a mile in width at its widest point, which is near Smithland, Kentucky.

Despite its ownership of the lengthy Ohio River, the longest river that runs through Kentucky is the Mississippi River, which is a total of 2,320 miles long. However, the longest river solely in Kentucky is the Green River. The Green River is 384 miles long and is the fifth-longest overall river in Kentucky.

Louisiana

The Calcasieu River at Cameron, Louisiana, seen from the car ferry, Acadia. The Gulf of Mexico is three miles straight ahead.

The Calcasieu River is 200 miles long. It’s the ninth-longest river in the state of Louisiana.

Of course, the longest river running through the state of Louisiana is the Mississippi River. The river is 2,320 miles and makes its way into the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. The longest river that is exclusively in Louisiana, however, is the Calcasieu River.

Maine

Bath is a city of Sagadahoc county in southwestern Maine, U.S. The city lies along the Kennebec River to Atlantic coast.

The Kennebec is the third-longest river in the state.

The longest river in Maine is the Saint John River, which is a total of 418 miles long. The longest river solely within the state of Maine, however, is the Kennebec River, which is 170 miles in length.

Maryland

Mouth of the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay in the Distance

The Patuxent River is the fourth-longest river in Maryland.

Maryland’s longest river is the Susquehanna River. This river runs for 444 miles. The longest river entirely within the state of Maryland, however, is the Patuxent River. The Patuxent is 115 miles in length.

Massachusetts

Boston

The Boston skyline sits alongside the Charles River.

The Connecticut River is the longest river that runs through Massachusetts. It’s 407 miles in length. However, the longest river solely in Massachusetts is the Charles River. The Charles River is 80 miles long and is the fourth-longest river in the state.

Michigan

Movies on the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan at night

The Grand River circles the lower southwest quadrant of Michigan.

The longest river in the state of Michigan is the Grand River, which is 252 miles long. This river is also the longest river that’s solely within Michigan! It flows into Lake Michigan and begins just south of Jackson, Michigan.

Minnesota

Minneapolis Minnesota at Sunset on the Mississippi River,

The Minnesota River flows by Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The longest river that flows through Minnesota is, like many states on the list, the Mississippi River. This river is 2,320 total miles long. However, the longest river in Mississippi is the Minnesota River. This river is the fourth-longest in the state and is 370 miles in length.

Mississippi

The Pearl River between Louisiana and Mississippi flows through the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge, a vast wetland.

Portions of the Pearl River are part of the

Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge

.

Unsurprisingly, the longest river in Mississippi is the Mississippi River, which is a total of 2,320 miles long. But much of the river flows through other states. The longest river that exists entirely within Mississippi’s borders is the Pearl River. The Pearl River is 444 miles long.

Missouri

MAY 17 2019, HERMANN MISSOURI USA - The Hermann Bridge was a cantilevered truss bridge over the Missouri River at Hermann, Missouri between Gasconade and Montgomery County

The Missouri River flows for 2,340 miles and then ultimately enters the Mississippi River.

Just like with Mississippi, it’s not difficult to guess the longest river in the state. The Missouri River, which flows for 2,340 miles, is the longest river in Missouri. However, the longest river entirely within the state is the Gasconade River. This river is 280 miles long.

Montana

Missouri River Water

The Missouri River stretches about 120 miles within the state of Missouri.

Montana’s longest river is also the Missouri River. The Missouri River is 2,340 miles long. However, the longest river that is entirely within the borders of Montana is the Musselshell River. This river is 342 miles long, making it the fourth-longest river in the state.

Nebraska

MARCH 7, 2017 - Grand Island, Nebraska -PLATTE RIVER, Migratory Sandhill Cranes fly over cornfield as part of their spring migration from Texas and Mexico, north to Canada, Alaska, and Siberia.

The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River.

Nebraska’s longest river, like many of the previous states, is the Missouri River, which is 2,340 miles long. However, the Platte River is the longest river that is entirely within Nebraska. The Platte River (not to be confused with the North Platte River), is 310 miles long.

Nevada

The Humboldt River is the third-longest river in Nevada.

Like many states in the western half of the US, Nevada’s longest river is the Colorado River. The Colorado River flows 1,450 miles. However, the Humboldt River is the longest river within solely the state of Nevada. This river is 330 miles long.

New Hampshire

New England Landscape. Fall in Green Mountains and Connecticut River

The longest stretch of the Connecticut River is between Vermont and New Hampshire.

New Hampshire, like many New England states, boasts the Connecticut River as its longest river. The Connecticut River totals 407 miles in length but runs through many states. The longest river that is solely in New Hampshire is the Contoocook River, which is 71 miles long.

New Jersey

New Jersey, Jersey City and river Hudson

The Hudson River originates in the Adirondack Mountains of New York and is visible in New Jersey, but belongs wholly to New York.

New Jersey’s longest river is the Delaware River. This river is 301 miles in length. The longest river within New Jersey’s borders is the Raritan River. It’s 121 miles long.

New Mexico

New Mexico Sunrise Over the Rio Grande River

The Rio Grande is visible from many of the beautiful peaks in New Mexico.

New Mexico’s longest river, like Colorado, is the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande runs 1,896 miles in length. However, the longest river solely in New Mexico is the Rio Puerco. This river is 230 miles long and is the seventh longest river in the state.

New York

Saint Lawrence river. Thousand Lakes National Park USA.

The Saint Lawrence spans two Canadian provinces, as well as New York.

The longest river in the state of New York is the Saint Lawrence River. This river runs for 744 miles in length. The Hudson River is the longest river entirely within the state of New York. It’s often associated with New Jersey but fully belongs to New York state.

North Carolina

Roanoke River Light House at Sunset

This is the Roanoke River Light House, located in North Carolina.

The longest river in North Carolina is the Roanoke River, which goes on for 410 miles. The Neuse River, however, is the longest river solely in North Carolina. This river is 275 miles long and is the third-longest river that runs through the state.

North Dakota

The 591-mile Sheyenne River is the fourth-longest river in North Dakota.

The longest river in North Dakota, like many midwestern states, is the Missouri River. The Missouri River totals 2,340 miles in length. However, the longest river completely within the state’s borders is the Sheyenne River. This river is 591 miles long.

Ohio

Aerial view of Columbus City Ohio with Scioto river during sunset

The Scioto River is the river that flows through Columbus, Ohio!

The longest river in Ohio is, no surprise, the Ohio River! This river is 981 miles long and, despite its namesake, is actually presently owned by Kentucky. The longest river in Ohio that is fully within the state is the Scioto River, which is 231 miles long.

Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA downtown skyline on the Arkansas River in the afternoon.

Tulsa, Oklahoma sits on the Arkansas River.

The longest river in the state of Oklahoma is the Arkansas River, which stretches 1,469 miles in length. However, the longest river that is entirely within Oklahoma is the North Canadian River. This river is 440 miles long. It’s the sixth-longest river in the state.

Oregon

Oregon landscape - Crown Point Columbia river

It’s hard to believe this photograph was taken in Oregon! This is Crown Point, overlooking the Columbia River.

The longest river in the state of Oregon is the Columbia River. This river is 1,243 miles long. The longest river that is just within Oregon is the John Day River. The John Day River is 281 miles long, making it the fourth-longest river in the state.

Pennsylvania

Sunset view over the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Ohio River can be viewed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The longest river in Pennsylvania is the Ohio River, which stretches 981 miles long. However, the West Branch Susquehanna River is the longest river that solely exists within Pennsylvania. This river is 243 miles in length.

Rhode Island

Blackstone River

Though it’s under 50 miles in length, the Blackstone River flows through both Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The longest river in Rhode Island is the Blackstone River. This river is only 48 miles long. However, the longest river that is just in Rhode Island is the Woonasquatucket River. This river is a measly 16 miles in length!

South Carolina

Looking downstream from the banks of the muddy Savannah River between Georgia and South Carolina.

The Savannah River serves as a border between South Carolina and Georgia.

South Carolina’s longest river is the Savannah River, which is a moderate 301 miles in length. The longest river that is solely within South Carolina is the Edisto River, which is 200 miles exactly. That river is the fourth-largest river in the state.

South Dakota

Lake Francis Case South Dakota

Fort Randall Dam is a significant dam located in South Dakota. It reaches all the way across the Missouri River.

The longest river in South Dakota is the Missouri River. As we know, the Missouri River is the longest river in America, spanning many states! It is 2,340 miles long. However, the longest river in South Dakota that doesn’t exit the state is the Moreau River. The Moreau River is 291 miles long.

Tennessee

Duck river near Manchester Tennessee , Fall !

While the Duck River is the longest river entirely within Tennessee, it’s the fifth-longest river in the state overall.

Tennessee is another state on our list with the Mississippi River as its number-one longest river. The Mississippi River is 2,320 miles long. However, the longest river that exists entirely within Tennessee is the Duck River! The Duck River is 284 miles long.

Texas

The Texas Colorado River moves through Austin, Texas!

Like many of the states in the southcentral region of America, Texas’s longest river is the hulking Rio Grande. The Rio Grande spans 1,896 miles. The Texas Colorado River is the longest river just in Texas, however. It’s a little bit more than 800 miles long.

Utah

Glen Canyon, Utah

The water found in Glen Canyon (shown here) is the Colorado River.

The longest river in Utah is the Colorado River. The Colorado River, as a whole, spans 1,450 miles. However, the longest river that is entirely within Utah is the Sevier River. This river is 383 miles long and is the third-longest river in the state.

Vermont

Otter Creek, Vermont

Otter Creek is the second-longest river in the state of Vermont.

The Connecticut River is the longest river that flows through Vermont. It’s 407 miles in length and has substantial stretches between Vermont and New Hampshire. However, the longest river entirely in Vermont is Otter Creek. Otter Creek stretches 112 miles in length.

Virginia

Longest River in North Carolina - The Roanoke River

The Roanoke River also flows through Virginia.

The longest river in Virginia is the Roanoke River. This river is 410 miles long! The longest river that is entirely within the state of Virginia, however, is the James River. The James River is 348 miles long and is the second-longest river that flows through the state.

Washington

View of the Bridge of the Gods as seen from Oregon crossing the Columbia River into Washington

To move from Oregon to Washington, you may have to cross the Columbia River!

Washington state’s longest river is the Columbia River. The Columbia River is 1,243 miles in length. However, the longest river in the state that doesn’t cross its borders is the Yakima River. This river is 214 miles long and the third-longest river in the state.

West Virginia

Greenbrier River at Talcott, WV

The Greenbrier River is a tributary of the second-longest river in West Virginia: New River. New River is 320 miles long.

The longest river that flows through West Virginia is the Ohio River. As mentioned previously, the Ohio River is 981 miles long. The longest river in West Virginia that doesn’t flow into any other state is the Greenbrier River. This river is 173 miles long. It’s the fourth-longest river in the state.

Wisconsin

Sturgeon (acipenser fulvescens) swimming along a rocky shore during spawning season on the Wolf River in Wisconsin.

There is a lot of wildlife in and around the Wisconsin River, including

sturgeon

!

Wisconsin’s longest river, like many Midwestern states, is the Mississippi River. This river is 2,320 miles long. The longest river that is exclusively in Wisconsin, however, is the Wisconsin River. This river is 430 miles long, making it the second-longest river in Wisconsin.

Wyoming

Little Wind River and Buffalo Head Peak." Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming.

One of the tributaries of Wind River, Little Wind River, runs through the

Bridger-Teton National Forest

in Wyoming.

Wyoming’s longest river is the Snake River. This river is 1,078 miles in length. However, the longest river that is entirely within the state of Wyoming is the Wind River/Bighorn River. This river is 461 miles. Despite being substantially long, it’s Wyoming’s seventh-longest river! There are many long rivers flowing through Wyoming.

Summary of the Longest Rivers That Run Through Each State

StateRiverLength
1.AlabamaTennessee River652 miles
2.AlaskaYukon River1,980 miles
3.ArizonaColorado River1,450 miles
4.ArkansasMississippi River2,320 miles
5.CaliforniaColorado River1,450 miles
6.ColoradoRio Grande1,896 miles
7.ConnecticutConnecticut River407 miles
8.DelawareDelaware River301 miles
9.FloridaChattahoochee River430 miles
10.GeorgiaChattahoochee River430 miles
11.HawaiiWailuku River28 miles
12.IdahoSnake River1,078 miles
13.IllinoisMississippi River2,320 miles
14.IndianaOhio River981 miles
15.IowaMissouri River2,340 miles
16.KansasMissouri River2,340 miles
17.KentuckyMississippi River2,320 miles
18.LouisianaMississippi River2,320 miles
19.MaineSaint John River418 miles
20.MarylandSusquehanna River444 miles
21.MassachusettsConnecticut River407 miles
22.MichiganGrand River252 miles
23.MinnesotaMississippi River2,320 miles
24.MississippiMississippi River2,320 miles
25.MissouriMissouri River2,340 miles
26.MontanaMissouri River2,340 miles
27.NebraskaMissouri River2,340 miles
28.NevadaColorado River1,450 miles
29.New HampshireConnecticut River407 miles
30.New JerseyDelaware River301 miles
31.New MexicoRio Grande1,896 miles
32.New YorkSaint Lawrence River744 miles
33.North CarolinaRoanoke River410 miles
34.North DakotaMissouri River2,340 miles
35.OhioOhio River981 miles
36.OklahomaArkansas River1,469 miles
37.OregonColumbia River1,243 miles
38.PennsylvaniaOhio River981 miles
39.Rhode IslandBlackstone River48 miles
40.South CarolinaSavannah River301 miles
41.South DakotaMissouri River2,340 miles
42.TennesseeMississippi River2,320 miles
43.TexasRio Grande1,896 miles
44.UtahColorado River1,450 miles
45.VermontConnecticut River407 miles
46.VirginiaRoanoke River410 miles
47.WashingtonColumbia River1,243 miles
48.West VirginiaOhio River981 miles
49.WisconsinMississippi River2,320 miles
50.WyomingSnake River1,078 miles


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About the Author

Em Thomas is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering places, travel, and chili peppers! She's an MBA student with a passion for storytelling. Though she's a Michigan native, she presently resides in Denver, Colorado. While she doesn't currently have any pets of her own, she's an avid dogsitter with an affinity for big dogs!

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