What is the longest river in North America?

The longest river in North America is the Mississippi-Missouri river system, which has a total length of approximately 6,275 km (3,902 miles).

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list of long rivers in north america

  1. Mississippi-Missouri river system (6,275 km/3,902 miles)
  2. Mackenzie River (4,241 km/2,635 miles)
  3. St. Lawrence River (3,058 km/1,900 miles)
  4. Nelson River (1,760 km/1,094 miles)
  5. Colorado River (2,330 km/1,450 miles)
  6. Yukon River (3,185 km/1,980 miles)
  7. Rio Grande (3,051 km/1,899 miles)
  8. Columbia River (2,329 km/1,449 miles)
  9. Snake River (1,072 km/666 miles)

comparison of the three longest rivers in North America

River Length (km) Length (miles)
Mississippi-Missouri river system 6,275 3,902
Mackenzie River 4,241 2,635
St. Lawrence River 3,058 1,900

Mississippi-Missouri river system:

Free America The Mississippi photo and picture

    • The Mississippi is the greatest river in North America and the fourth-longest river in the world.
    • The Missouri River, which entirely remains within the United States, is the longest river in North America.
    • To name just a few examples, commodities like grain, gasoline, and chemicals are transported along the Mississippi and Missouri river systems, making them important commercial waterways.
    • Many fish and animals thrive in the river system, including the American bald eagle and the alligator gar.
    • Set on the Mississippi River, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” gives readers a peek of river life in the 19th century.

Mackenzie River:

    • Canada’s northern territories are traversed by the country’s longest river, the Mackenzie.
    • Indigenous peoples have made their homes along the river’s banks for thousands of years because of its importance as a water source.
    • Caribou, grizzly bears, and Arctic char are just a few of the animals that make their home in the Mackenzie River Basin.
    • The river was crucial to the creation and expansion of Canada’s northern territories.
    • The northern summer solstice occurs along the Mackenzie River and creates a lovely and unusual landscape.

St. Lawrence River:

    • The St. Lawrence River is a major commercial waterway that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.
    • The Thousand Islands, a cluster of more than 1,800 unconnected islands in the river, are a major tourist attraction.
    • The tidal range of the St. Lawrence River is infamously large, reaching heights of up to six meters.
    • There are a number of whale species that make their home in the river, including the beluga and the minke.
    • Several major engagements of the French and Indian War and the War of 1812 took place along the St. Lawrence River.

Nelson River:

    • The Nelson River is located in central Canada and flows through the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
    • The river is a major source of hydroelectric power and is home to several large hydroelectric dams.
    • The high water levels and swift currents of the Nelson River are well-known navigational hazards.
    • Northern pike, walleye, and lake sturgeon are just a few of the fish species that call this river home.
    • Several native cultures call the Nelson River home and have used the waterway for millennia as a source of sustenance and transportation.

Colorado River:

    • The Colorado River is a major source of water for the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
    • The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, was shaped by the river.
    • Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Leisure Area are just two of the many popular recreation spots along the Colorado River.
    • Recreational users should be aware of the dangers posed by the river’s high currents and flash floods.
    • Overallocation and drought have posed problems for the Colorado River in recent years, prompting management and conservation initiatives.

Yukon River:

    • The Yukon River is located in the northern region of Canada and Alaska and is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the world.
    • The river is known for its stunning scenery, including glaciers, mountains, and pristine wilderness.
    • During the Klondike Gold Rush in the 19th century, the Yukon River played a crucial role as a means of transportation.
    • Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and Arctic grayling are just few of the fish that call this river home.
    • Yukon River indigenous groups have historically relied on the river for subsistence fishing and hunting and continue to do so today.

Rio Grande:

    • The Rio Grande is a river that forms part of the boundary between the United States and Mexico.
    • The river is a major source of water for agriculture in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
    • Several parks and monuments can be found along the Rio Grande as well, including Texas’ Big Bend National Park and New Mexico’s Bandelier National Monument.
    • Recreational users should be aware of the dangers posed by the river’s high currents and flash floods.
    • Disputes over water rights and border security have heightened tensions between the United States and Mexico along the Rio Grande in recent years.

Columbia River:

    • The Columbia River is the fourth largest river in the United States and the largest in the Pacific Northwest region.
    • There is a rich fishing industry along the river, and it also provides hydroelectric power to the surrounding area.
    • Salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon are just a few of the fish that call the Columbia River home.
    • Native peoples around the Columbia River have fished there for centuries, and they still rely on fishing for survival.
    • The Columbia River has been heavily dammed for hydropower and flood control, which has had significant impacts on the river’s ecosystem and the communities that depend on it.

Missouri River:

    • The Missouri River is the longest river in North America and is a major tributary of the Mississippi River.
    • The river played a key role in the exploration and settlement of the western United States and was an important transportation route during the fur trade and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
    • Many fish species, including paddlefish, catfish, and bass, make their home in the Missouri River.
    • Bald eagles, pelicans, and herons, among many others, rely on the river for their survival.
    • The ecosystem and towns along the Missouri River have been severely impacted by the extensive damming of the river for electricity and flood control.

Platte River:

  • The Platte River is a major river in the central United States and is a tributary of the Missouri River.
  • Pioneers on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails all used the river as a critical link in their journeys across the western United States.
  • Many waterfowl, such as sandhill cranes, geese, and ducks, use the Platte River as a stopover or breeding ground due to the river’s shallow and wide course.
  • Fish including catfish, carp, and bass can all be found in the river.
  • The ecosystem and human populations along the Platte River have suffered greatly as a result of the river’s extensive modification for irrigation and flood control.
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