Missouri is full of rivers, tributaries, streams, and flowing water in general. From anywhere in the state there is a river just a short drive away, and often right in your backyard. Here is a small sample of some of the waterways in this beautiful state.
1. Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system on the North American continent. Its source is Lake Itasca in Minnesota, its mouth is the Gulf of Mexico and it spans 2,320 miles.
2. Missouri River
The Missouri River is the longest river in North America. It begins at Brower’s Spring in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, and flows south and east for 2,341 miles, entering the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis.
3. Black River
The Black River is a tributary of the White River and is located in southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. Flowing 298 miles, its sources are the East Fork Black River, Middle Fork Black River and West Fork Black River, its mouth is the White River, and it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.
4. Roaring River
Another tributary of the White River, the Roaring River is a 14.9-mile-long river in Barry County in the Ozarks. It flows into the White River in Eagle Rock, Missouri. A source of the Roaring River is Roaring River Spring, in Roaring River Hollow, and it flows through Roaring River State Park and Mark Twain National Forest.
5. Current River
The Current River forms in the southeastern portion of the Ozarks and becomes a 7th order stream as it flows southeasterly out of the Ozarks into northeastern Arkansas where it becomes a tributary of the Black River, which is a tributary of the White River, a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is approximately 184 miles long and its tributaries were federally protected as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the first national park in America to protect a river system.
6. Jacks Fork River
Jacks Fork River begins in Texas County and flows in an east to northeasterly direction through the heart of the geological area known as the Lower Ozark Natural Division. It is the major tributary of the Current River and ends at its confluence near Eminence. It is one of two rivers in Missouri that are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways system.
7. Meramec River
The Meramec River is one of the longest free-flowing waterways in Missouri. It drains 3,980 square miles and is 218 miles long. It starts near Salem and empties the Mississippi River near St. Louis at Arnold and Oakville.
8. Gasconade River
The Gasconade River’s source is in the Ozarks, and its mouth is the Missouri River. It is about 280 miles long and is located in central and south-central Missouri.
9. Big Piney River
The Big Piney River is a tributary of the Gasconade River in central Missouri and is 110 miles long. Its source is Potter Creek in Texas County, and it is part of the Mississippi River basin via the Gasconade and Missouri rivers.
10. Eleven Point River
Originating near Willow Springs, Missouri, the Eleven Point River is a 138-mile-long river in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.
11. Big River
The Big River is a tributary of the Meramec River in east-central Missouri and is 145 miles long. The river rises in western Iron County, near the summit of Johnson Mountain, and it flows through Washington County, Saint Francois County, and Jefferson County. It empties into the Meramec River opposite Eureka where the Meramec forms the border between Jefferson County and Saint Louis County.
12. St. Francis River
The Saint Francis River is a tributary of the Mississippi River and its source begins at Elephant Rocks State Park. It is about 426 miles long, running through southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas.
13. James River
The James River is 130 miles long and is located in southern Missouri. Its source is near the town of Diggins in Webster County. Flowing first northwesterly, then southwesterly, it passes down the east side of Springfield where it is impounded to form Lake Springfield. It then flows west and then south to Galena where it becomes an arm of Table Rock Lake, a reservoir on the White River, which is the emptying point for the river.
14. Little Niangua River
A tributary of the Niangua River in the Ozarks of central Missouri, the Little Niangua River is 64.4 miles long. It is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River via the Niangua, Osage and Missouri rivers.
15. One Hundred and Two River
The One Hundred and Two River is a tributary of the Platte River that is approximately 80 miles long. It is located in northwestern Missouri with its source tributaries rising in southwestern Iowa.
16. Marmaton River
"Marmaton River" by NOAA employee - http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=sgf&gage=nvdm7&view=1,1,1,1,1,1 (archive link at http://web.archive.org/web/20081013201957/http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=sgf&gage=nvdm7&view=1,1,1,1,1,1) (file was http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/ahps2/sgf/nvdm7/NVDM7us.jpg). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
The Marmaton River is a tributary of the Little Osage River in southeastern Kansas and western Missouri. It is 102 miles long and part of the watershed of the Mississippi River via the Little Osage, Osage and Missouri rivers.
17. Spring River
The Spring River is located in southwestern Missouri, southeastern Kansas, and northeastern Oklahoma. It is 129 miles long.
18. Loutre River
A tributary of the Missouri River, the Loutre River is 58.4 miles long. It begins as Little Loutre Creek in Audrain County and is fed along its path by many small creeks and streams.
What is your favorite river in Missouri? Is it one we did not include here? Don’t you love all the gorgeous waterways we have in this state? Share your thoughts in the comments below.