The 10 Deepest Rivers in the World

Congo River
© Salmon

Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: September 8, 2023

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The world’s population owes much of its success to river systems that provide water, transportation, and even protection in some cases. Some of these rivers are larger than others and discharge a great deal, but they vary in depth. A single river can range from a dozen feet in depth at one point to several hundred at another. Today, we’re going to look at the deepest rivers in the world, showing you that even the largest rivers are not always the deepest.  

How Are Rivers Made?

The water cycle is significant to the formation of rivers.


Rivers form when precipitation in areas with a higher elevation gathers to create a flow of water in the form of streams. Eventually, these streams collect into a larger body of water like a lake that serves as headwaters. In the case of the Mississippi River, Lake Itasca is considered the river’s source.

Then, the river continues its flow, gaining water from tributaries along the way. Eventually, the river reaches its outflow, also called the mouth, which is another river or the sea in most cases. Larger rivers tend to form in areas with a history of significant geological activity that aid in the formation of valleys and basins that lead to large river flows.

What Are the 10 Deepest Rivers in the World?

The Yenisei River basin includes Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world.


The deepest rivers in the world are found across several continents. Unsurprisingly, some of the deepest rivers are among the longest ones. We’re going to show you the depths, locations, and lengths of each of these rivers. By the time we’re finished, you’ll know all the deepest rivers in the world.

Keep in mind that these depths are not consistent throughout the river’s run. Instead, they are the deepest point found on the river.

10. Hudson River

Prettiest Rivers in the United States - Hudson River

The Hudson River is one of the prettiest rivers in North America.

©Songquan Deng/

216ftNorth America315 mi

The Hudson River is rather short compared to many of the others on this list. It runs from New York State until it reaches its outlet in the Upper New York Bay between Manhattan and Jersey City. The deep valley through which this river runs reaches a depth of 216ft! This river is one of the most important waterways in the U.S. for transportation and crossings.

9. St. Lawrence River

Saint-Lawrence River

St. Lawrence river is an important waterway for commercial purposes.


250ftNorth America743.8 mi

The St. Lawrence River is a river that flows from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. This river flows northeast from Lake Ontario, forming a border between the U.S. and Canada, and has a mouth at the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The river is an important waterway for commercial purposes, and it has been the site of battles throughout history.

8. Yellow River

The Yellow River is a very long river that drains into the Bohai Sea.


262ftAsia3,395 mi

The Yellow River is one of the longest rivers in the entire world, and it’s known as one of the most important waterways in China. The abundance provided by this river allowed China’s civilization to flourish. Many hydroelectric dams have been built along the length of this river, and they help supply a tremendous amount of power to the nation.

From a historical and modern-day standpoint, this river is very significant as well as very deep, with a portion of the river measuring 262ft in depth!

7. Mekong River

Mekong River is one of the most dammed rivers in the world.

©Mike Towers/

300ftAsia2,703 mi

The Mekong River is a very long body of water that flows through Laos, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Eventually, the river lets out in the Mekong Delta in the South China Sea of the Pacific Ocean.

This river supports millions of humans in rural areas as well as cities throughout its course. The Mekong River is also renowned for its diverse wildlife. The deep waters of this river are home to some very large fauna. Check out the biggest fish in the Mekong River.

6. Ottawa River

The Ottawa River surrounded with trees under the cloudy sky in Ontario, Canada

The Ottawa River forms the border between Ontario and Quebec.

©Light and Vision/

318North America790

The Ottawa River is the deepest river in Canada as well as the deepest river in North America. This body of water reaches a depth of 318 feet. The river starts at Ottawa Lake and reaches its mouth at the Lake of Two Mountains and the St. Lawrence River.

The deepest portion of this river is found upriver from the Carillion Hydroelectric Facility, across from an area called Greece’s Point. However, the river’s total depth remains a matter of controversy, with some sources claiming that the river is over 200 feet deeper than listed here.

5. Amazon River

Amazon River

The Amazon River is both long and remote in areas.


328ftSouth America3,977 mi

The Amazon River is locked in perpetual combat with the Nile River for the title of the longest river in the world. Depending on the measurements that one accepts, this river might just be the longest of them all. One thing is for certain: this river is long and supports some of the greatest biodiversity in the world.

4. Zambezi River

zambezi river

The Zambezi River is critical to agriculture along its banks.


381ftAfrica1,599 mi

The Zambezi River runs through many countries in East Africa, providing water and hydroelectric power to people in the area. The river is critical to agriculture along its banks, but it does not flow through many major cities before reaching its mouth in the Indian Ocean.

3. Danube River

The Danube River flows through rural and urban areas.


584ftEurope1,771 mi

The Danube River is known for being the second-longest river in all of Europe. However, more people live along the banks of this river than on the Volga River, the longest river in Europe. The Danube River flows through cities like Vienna and Budapest. The greatest depth of this river is 584ft, a significant among deeper than the Zambezi River.

2. Yangtze River

Yangtze River

The Yangtze River is the third-longest river in the world.

©mark stephens photography/

650ftAsia3,915 mi

The Yangtze River is the longest in all of Asia and is third to the Nile and Amazon rivers in terms of length. This massive river flows throughout China from west to east, eventually ending in the East China Sea. This river is important for transportation, power, agriculture, and more throughout the country. It is one of the most influential rivers in Asia!

1. Congo River

The Congo River is the second-longest river in all of Africa.

© Salmon

720ftAfrica2,920 mi

The Congo River is the deepest in the world, measuring 720ft at one portion of its run. This river starts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and flows through the country to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. The river is famous for being the only major river to pass over the equator twice throughout its run.

Identifying the Deepest Rivers in the World

Pasig River

River depths can change over time and new measurements can become available.

©MDV Edwards/

The rivers we have listed here have been measured in the past with some certainty. Still, we recognize that deeper rivers may exist as they can run hundreds or thousands of miles long. Also, river depths can change over time.

In other words, the list of the deepest rivers in the world is changeable and could be altered in the future! We’ll keep a lookout for new information about river depths around the world!

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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