Elk River (West Virginia)
Elk River in Charleston
|Counties||Pocahontas, Randolph, Webster, Braxton, Clay, Kanawha|
|- left||Birch River|
|- right||Holly River|
|Source||Old Field Fork |
|- location||Elk Mountain, Pocahontas County, WV|
|- elevation||3,557 ft (1,084 m) |
|Secondary source||Big Spring Fork |
|- location||Pocahontas County, WV|
|- elevation||3,655 ft (1,114 m) |
|- location||Slatyfork, WV|
|- elevation||2,667 ft (813 m) |
|Mouth||Kanawha River |
|- location||Charleston, WV|
|- elevation||574 ft (175 m)|
|Length||172 mi (277 km) |
|Discharge||for Queen Shoals, WV|
|- average||2,650 cu ft/s (75 m3/s) |
|- max||14,000 cu ft/s (396 m3/s) (1972)|
|- min||271 cu ft/s (8 m3/s) (1976)|
The Elk River is a tributary of the Kanawha River, 172 miles (277 km) long, in central West Virginia in the United States. Via the Kanawha and Ohio rivers, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River.
The Elk is formed in the Allegheny Mountains in Pocahontas County by the confluence of two short streams, the Big Spring Fork and the Old Field Fork, which join near the community of Slatyfork. It flows above ground for several miles before it sinks into a network of caverns and flows underground for more than five miles. The old riverbed of solid rock, however, remains above ground in this section known as "The Dries." It follows a generally westward course across the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau, through Randolph, Webster, Braxton, Clay, and Kanawha Counties, past the towns of Webster Springs, Sutton, Gassaway, Clay, Clendenin, and Elkview before joining the Kanawha River at Charleston.
The upper portion of the river, above Sutton Lake, is a popular coldwater trout stream. Below Sutton Lake, it is a high-gradient warmwater fishery well known for its muskellunge, walleye and smallmouth bass fishing.
According to the Geographic Names Information System, the Elk River has also been known historically as:
- "Old Field Fork". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-21.
- "USGS Elevation Query: Old Field Fork Source". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- "Big Spring Fork". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- "USGS Elevation Query: Big Spring Fork Source". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- "USGS Elevation Query: Elk River Source Confluence". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- "Elk River". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- "Columbia Gazetteer of North America: Elk River". Columbia University Press. 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
- "USGS 03197000 ELK RIVER AT QUEEN SHOALS, WV". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
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