How Deep is the Delaware River?

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Updated: July 20, 2023
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Infographic about the Delaware River.
The Delaware River runs through five states, starting in New York and ending in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Delaware River is famous in the United States because of its historical significance and is located on the Atlantic coast. The Delaware River also serves as a source of drinking water for more than 15 million people living in New York and Philadelphia. 

Today, the Delaware River is an interstate waterway for easy transportation between the states it flows through. The river flows through Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

Here are more details about the depth, size, geological and biological features, and many amazing facts about the Delaware River.

What is the Deepest Point on the Delaware River?

Delaware River with Philadelphia Skyline

The Delaware River is 113 feet at its deepest point.

©Paul Brady Photography/

The Delaware River is 113 feet at its deepest point. The depth along the river’s shores is between 4 and 6 feet. This depth increases as you move further into the river. The river’s depth depends on specific locations and the state’s weather conditions. In summer, the river is less deep as the hot weather evaporates most of the surface water, while water levels rise during colder times and when precipitation increases.

Unlike many other rivers where the maximum depth is impacted by large dams, the Delaware River is actually completely un-dammed. It’s the longest river east of the Mississippi without dams.

Where Does the Delaware River Start and End?

The Delaware River starts in the Catskill Mountains, located in New York. It has two branches, both beginning at different locations. The Western Branch of the River, also called the Mohawk Branch, starts around Mount Jefferson, while the Eastern branch starts around Roxbury. 

The Western branch covers around 90 miles from its origin to Hannock, where the two river branches meet. Like the Western Branch, the East Branch flows from a small pond in the Delaware County town of Roxbury, south of Grand Gorge, to Hannock.

How long is the Delaware River?

Upper Delaware Scenic And Recreational River

The Delaware River’s drainage basin has an area of 13,539 square miles.


The Delaware River is 330 miles long. It flows from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware before emptying its content into the Atlantic Ocean. 

The Delaware River’s drainage basin has an area of 13,539 square miles and runs across numerous counties, states, and municipalities in the United States. Draining the Delaware large watershed requires a reservoir capacity of 95.7 billion US gallons (362,000,000 m3).

What are some of the geological features of the Delaware River?

Delaware’s Hawks Nest is a scenic location outside Port Jervis in New York. The upper Delaware lands have notable geological features like the sandstone cliffs that can be seen at the Hawks Nest. The entire geological scenery of the Delaware can be viewed through the sand cliffs. Fossilized plants and animals, mud cracks, calcified bony plates, and remains of ancient mollusks and brachiopods reveal the history of the watershed.

Deposits like bluestone, colorful sandstones, siltstones, peat, and gravel make up the soils surrounding the river. Overall, the Delaware geological feature consists of a fluvial landscape and topography that has been altered by glacial outwash.

What kind of animals live in and around the Delaware River?

bald eagles perched over water

The Delaware River serves as a home to many aquatic animals and their predators.


The Delaware River consists of distinct branches like the upper and central Delaware valleys and the East and West branches of Delaware. Each Delaware branch possesses certain features that provide a conducive environment for land wildlife like snakes, antelopes, deer, wild geese, bears, and many more. Mountains, islands, bays, and lowlands serve as habitat sources for different animals.

The river also serves as a home to many aquatic animals and is known to contain the famous blue-spotted sunfish. There are also freshwater mussels, other fish species, aquatic microorganisms, eels, aquatic insects, frogs, toads, and crustaceans like crabs.

The Delaware Bay, especially areas around the Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge, is known for the site of hundreds of bird species. Numerous birds, like the bald eagle, shorebirds, sparrows, and even hawks, can be seen around the river. The multiple sightings of birds have made the area a hotspot for visitors, and in 1998, the area was named one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the United States.

10 Amazing Facts About the Delaware River

  • The Delaware River Basin mud is being used by both major and minor baseball teams in the country to help improve the pitcher’s grip.
  • The most famous fact about the Delaware River is that George Washington crossed it in 1776 to ambush the Hessian troops during the American Revolution in New Jersey.
  • Did you know that the river was named after the first governor of the Virginia Colony, Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, by Henry Hudson in 1609? Henry Hudson accidentally discovered the river while searching for other discoveries with the Dutch East India Trading Company. 
  • Did you know over 20 islands on the Delaware River are located in New Jersey?
  • The river is the longest undammed in the Eastern United States, stretching as far as 330 miles. Its basin is the only river basin in the state that has both an interstate-federal commission (the DRBC) and a national estuary program in the same location.
  • The Delaware River serves as the border between five states. Standing on one shore and looking toward the shore at the other end will mean you are looking at another state. Cool right?
  • The bedrock beneath the Delaware Water Gap Recreation area is as old as 400 million years old and was despaired during the Ordovician and Devonian periods. It is as old as the existence of dinosaurs (and beyond!). 
  • Residents use more than 6.4 billion gallons of water every day from the Delaware River Basin. About 95% of this water was taken from the surface.
  • The Delaware River Basin Commission was created in 1961 after an agreement by President Kennedy and the governors of Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It has created over 500,000 jobs for nearby residents and contributed about $22 billion to the country’s economic activity.
  • The Delaware River provides 3 million gallons of water daily to cool the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants.

Where Is the Delaware River Located on a Map?

The Delaware River passes through 4 states — New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware — before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. Though it starts in the Catskill Mountains, it also has two branches: Eastern and Western.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Paul Brady Photography/

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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