50 Largest Rivers in the United States (by discharge)

The United States of America is home to hundreds of rivers, and with a land area of 9.834 million km2, the country can house several huge rivers. Approximately half of the rivers on the list are tributaries to other rivers on the list; the remaining rivers flow straight into oceans, seas, gulfs, or bays.

1. Mississippi River

Mississippi is the largest river in the United States with an average discharge volume of 593,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) at the mouth. The calculation of the discharge excluding the Atchafalaya-Red River basin.

Discharge (cfs): 593,000
Drainage area: 1,150,000 sq miles in the U.S and Canada
Source: Lake Itasca
Source Location: Itasca State Park, Clearwater County, Minnesota. 47°14′23″N 95°12′27″W

Main Flow of Mississippi River on Map
Image Source: Google Maps

2. Ohio River

The Ohio River, located in the southern United States, is the second-largest river by discharge. Its drainage basin encompasses a portion of 14 states. The river’s depth ranged from around 3 to 20 feet. It has dams and a network of reservoirs.

Discharge (cfs): 281,500
Drainage area: 203,000 sq miles
Source: Allegheny River
Source Location: Allegany Township, Potter County, Pennsylvania. 47°14′23″N 95°12′27″W

Ohio River
Image Source: Google Maps

3. Saint Lawrence River

It is the second-largest river in the United States, with a discharge rate of 275,000 CFS of water emptying at the US-Canada border, making it the second-largest river in the country. The St. Lawrence River flows beside Gananoque, Brockville, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Massena, Cornwall, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and Quebec City before draining into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Discharge (cfs): 275,000
Drainage area: 258,000 sq miles
Source: Lake Ontario
Source Location: Kingston, Ontario / Cape Vincent, New York. 44°06′N 76°24′W

Saint Lawrence River
Image Source: Google Maps

4. Columbia River

Columbia is one of the largest and longest rivers in the USA. The river originates in British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains. It runs northwest and then south into Washington, then heads west to form the majority of the border between Washington and Oregon before draining into the Pacific Ocean. its largest tributary is the Snake River. Its drainage basin stretches over seven US states and one Canadian province.

Discharge (cfs): 273,000
Drainage area: 258,000 sq miles
Source: Columbia Lake
Source Location: British Columbia, Canada. 50°13′35″N 115°51′05″W

Columbia River
Image Source: Google Maps

5. Yukon River

It runs across the Canadian territory of Yukon., (Yukon is Canada’s territory named after the river). Yukon River is the longest in Alaska and Yukon territory. The 75%half of the river flows westward through the state of Alaska in the United States.

Discharge (cfs): 227,000
Drainage area: 328,000 sq miles
Source: Llewellyn Glacier
Source Location: Atlin District, British Columbia, Canada. 59°10′N 133°50′W

Yukon River
Image Source: Google Maps
NoRiverLength (km)Average discharge
(cfs) (ft3/s)
1Mississippi River3,730593,000Gulf of Mexico
(Pilottown, Plaquemines Parish, LA)
2Ohio River1,575281,500Mississippi River
(Cairo, Illinois / Ballard County, Kentucky)
3Saint Lawrence River965275,000 (In U.S. side)Gulf of Saint Lawrence
(Quebec, Canada)
4Columbia River2,000273,000Pacific Ocean
(Pacific Ocean, at Clatsop County, Oregon)
5Yukon River3,185227,000Bering Sea
(Kusilvak, Alaska, U.S.)
6Atchafalaya River220225,000Gulf of Mexico
(Morgan City, Louisiana)
7Niagara River58204,700Lake Ontario
8Detroit River51188,000Lake Erie
9St. Clair River63183,000Lake St. Clair
10Missouri River3,76786,300Mississippi River
11St. Marys River12075,000Lake Huron-Lake Michigan
12Tennessee River1,04968,000Ohio River
13Mobile River7267,000Gulf of Mexico
14Kuskokwim River1,13067,000Bering Sea
15Red River2,19058,000Atchafalaya River
16Copper River47057,400Gulf of Alaska
17Snake River1,67455,000Columbia River
18Stikine River61056,000Pacific Ocean
19Susitna River50451,000Gulf of Alaska
20Arkansas River2,32244,500Mississippi River
21Tanana River94041,800Yukon River
22Susquehanna River74738,200Chesapeake Bay
23Willamette River30137,400Columbia River
24Wabash River81034,500Ohio River
25Alabama River51232,500Mobile River
26Nushagak River45032,000Bering Sea
27Alsek River38631,000Gulf of Alaska
28Cumberland River1,12030,000Ohio River
29Black River-Ouachita River97429,800Red River
30White River1,15929,500Mississippi River
31Pend Oreille River21027,000Columbia River
32Tombigbee River32026,300Mobile River
33Koyukuk River68425,000Yukon River
34Illinois River43924,000Mississippi River
35Sacramento River71923,500Pacific Ocean
36Porcupine River91623,000Yukon River
37Colorado River2,33022,000Gulf of California
38Clark Fork River50021,900Pend Oreille River
39Hudson River50721,900Atlantic Ocean
40Yentna River12121,000Susitna River
41Chitina River18020,000Copper River
42Allegheny River52319,900Ohio River
43Apalachicola River8019,602Gulf of Mexico
44Connecticut River65518,400Atlantic Ocean
45Kvichak River8017,900Bering Sea
46Klamath River42317,300Pacific Ocean
47Santee River23017,000Atlantic Ocean
48Skagit River24016,500Pacific Ocean
49Kootenai (Kootenay) River78127,600 Columbia River
50Coosa River45016,000Alabama River
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