List of rivers of Colorado

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The headwaters of the Arkansas River near Leadville, Colorado.

This is a list of streams in the U.S. state of Colorado.

Alphabetical list[edit]

The following alphabetical list includes many important streams that flow through the State of Colorado including all 158 named rivers. Where available, the total extent of the stream's drainage basin[1] is shown after the name. The names of the 17 Colorado rivers with a drainage basin of more than 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 sq mi), about three times the area of Rhode Island are shown in bold.

  1. Adams Fork Conejos River
  2. Alamosa River 383 km2 (148 mi2)
  3. Animas River 3,562 km2 (1,375 mi2)
  4. Apishapa River 2,798 km2 (1,080 mi2)
  5. Arikaree River 4,429 km2 (1,710 mi2)
  6. Arkansas River 478,501 km2 (184,750 mi2)
  7. Aspen Brook
  8. Bear Creek 4,500 km2 (1,737 mi2)
  9. Bear Creek 339 km2 (131 mi2)
  10. Bear River
  11. Beaver Creek 2,939 km2 (1,135 mi2)
  12. Big Dry Creek
  13. Big Sandy Creek 4,825 km2 (1,863 mi2)
  14. Big Thompson River 2,149 km2 (830 mi2)
  15. Bijou Creek 3,612 km2 (1,395 mi2)
  16. Blue River 1,770 km2 (683 mi2)
  17. Boulder Creek[2] (1,160 km2 (448 mi2)
  18. Cache la Poudre River 4,959 km2 (1,915 mi2)
  19. Canadian River 122,701 km2 (47,375 mi2)
  20. Canadian River
  21. Chalk Creek
  22. Cherry Creek 1,050 km2 (405 mi2)
  23. Chico Creek 1,934 km2 (747 mi2)
  24. Cimarron River 44,890 km2 (17,332 mi2)
  25. Cimarron River
  26. Clear Creek 1,497 km2 (578 mi2)
  27. Colorado River(67,993 km2 (26,252 mi2)
  28. Conejos River 2,078 km2 (802 mi2)
  29. Crow Creek 3,717 km2 (1,435 mi2)
  30. Crystal River
  31. Cucharas River
  32. Culebra Creek
  33. Dolores River 11,998 km2 (4,633 mi2)
  34. Dry Fork Michigan River
  35. Eagle River 2,515 km2 (971 mi2)
  36. East Fork Arkansas River
  37. East Fork Cimarron River
  38. East Fork Eagle River
  39. East Fork Little Cimarron River
  40. East Fork Navajo River
  41. East Fork Piedra River
  42. East Fork Rio Chama
  43. East Fork San Juan River
  44. East Fork South Fork Crystal River
  45. East Mancos River
  46. East River 762 km2 (294 mi2)
  47. Elk River
  48. Encampment River
  49. Fall River
  50. Fall River
  51. First Fork Piedra River
  52. First Fork South Fork Piney River
  53. Florida River
  54. Fountain Creek 2,418 km2 (933 mi2)
  55. Fraser River
  56. Frenchman Creek 7,398 km2 (2,856 mi2)
  57. Fryingpan River
  58. Geneva Creek
  59. Gore Creek
  60. Green River[3][4] (115,903 km2 (44,750 mi2)
  61. Gunnison River[5] (20,851 km2 (8,051 mi2)
  62. Hidden River
  63. Hill Branch Cucharas River
  64. Horse Creek 3,680 km2 (1,421 mi2)
  65. Huerfano River 4,840 km2 (1,869 mi2)
  66. Illinois River
  67. Kiowa Creek 1,888 km2 (729 mi2)
  68. La Plata River
  69. Ladder Creek 3,645 km2 (1,407 mi2)
  70. Lake Fork Gunnison River
  71. Laramie River 11,961 km2 (4,618 mi2)
  72. Left Hand Creek
  73. Little Beaver Creek 1,602 km2 (619 mi2)
  74. Little Cimarron River
  75. Little Dolores River
  76. Little Dry Creek
  77. Little Navajo River
  78. Little Snake River 10,629 km2 (4,104 mi2)
  79. Little Thompson River
  80. Lodgepole Creek 8,374 km2 (3,233 mi2)
  81. Lone Tree Creek
  82. Los Pinos River
  83. Mancos River 2,099 km2 (810 mi2)
  84. McElmo Creek 1,842 km2 (711 mi2)
  85. Michigan River
  86. Middle Fork Cimarron River
  87. Middle Fork Conejos River
  88. Middle Fork Elk River
  89. Middle Fork Little Snake River
  90. Middle Fork Piedra River
  91. Middle Fork Purgatoire River
  92. Middle Fork South Arkansas River
  93. Middle Fork South Platte River
  94. Middle Fork Swan River
  95. Middle Mancos River
  96. Montezuma Creek 3,044 km2 (1,175 mi2)
  97. Muddy Creek
  98. Navajo River
  99. North Branch Conejos River
  100. North Fork Animas River
  101. North Fork Apishapa River
  102. North Fork Arikaree River
  103. North Fork Big Thompson River
  104. North Fork Cache la Poudre River
  105. North Fork Canadian River
  106. North Fork Cimarron River 4,462 km2 (1,723 mi2)
  107. North Fork Conejos River
  108. North Fork Crystal River
  109. North Fork Elk River
  110. North Fork Fryingpan River
  111. North Fork Gunnison River 2,492 km2 (962 mi2)
  112. North Fork Little Snake River
  113. North Fork Little Thompson River
  114. North Fork Los Pinos River
  115. North Fork Michigan River
  116. North Fork North Platte River
  117. North Fork Piney River
  118. North Fork Purgatoire River
  119. North Fork Republican River 13,172 km2 (5,086 mi2)
  120. North Fork Rio de los Piños
  121. North Fork Smoky Hill River 1,965 km2 (759 mi2)
  122. North Fork Snake River
  123. North Fork South Arkansas River
  124. North Fork South Platte River
  125. North Fork Swan River
  126. North Fork Vermejo River
  127. North Fork West Branch Laramie River
  128. North Fork West Mancos River
  129. North Fork White River
  130. North Platte River 80,755 km2 (31,180 mi2)
  131. North Saint Charles River
  132. Owl Creek
  133. Parachute Creek
  134. Pawnee Creek 1,875 km2 (724 mi2)
  135. Piceance Creek 1,630 km2 (629 mi2)
  136. Piedra River 1,770 km2 (683 mi2)
  137. Piney River
  138. Plateau Creek
  139. Purgatoire River 8,923 km2 (3,445 mi2)
  140. Ralston Creek
  141. Rio Blanco
  142. Rio Chama 8,204 km2 (3,168 mi2)
  143. Rio Chamita
  144. Rio de los Piños
  145. Rio Grande 457,275 km2 (176,555 mi2)
  146. Rio Lado
  147. Rio San Antonio
  148. Roan Creek
  149. Roaring Fork Little Snake River
  150. Roaring Fork River 3,766 km2 (1,454 mi2)
  151. Roaring River
  152. Rush Creek 3,570 km2 (1,378 mi2)
  153. Saguache Creek 3,482 km2 (1,345 mi2)
  154. Saint Charles River
  155. Saint Vrain Creek 2,572 km2 (993 mi2)
  156. San Juan River 64,560 km2 (24,927 mi2)
  157. San Luis Creek 7,000 km2 (2,703 mi2)
  158. San Miguel River 4,060 km2 (1,567 mi2)
  159. Sand Arroyo Creek 1,938 km2 (748 mi2)
  160. Sand Creek (Adams County)
  161. Sand Creek (Colorado Springs)
  162. Sand Creek (Larimer County)
  163. Sidney Draw 1,949 km2 (753 mi2)
  164. Slate River
  165. Smoky Hill River 51,783 km2 (19,994 mi2)
  166. Snake River
  167. South Arkansas River
  168. South Fork Animas River
  169. South Fork Beaver Creek 1,939 km2 (749 mi2)
  170. South Fork Cache la Poudre River
  171. South Fork Canadian River
  172. South Fork Conejos River
  173. South Fork Crystal River
  174. South Fork Cucharas River
  175. South Fork Eagle River
  176. South Fork Elk River
  177. South Fork Fryingpan River
  178. South Fork Huerfano River
  179. South Fork Little Snake River
  180. South Fork Michigan River
  181. South Fork Piney River
  182. South Fork Purgatoire River
  183. South Fork Republican River 7,195 km2 (2,778 mi2)
  184. South Fork Rio Grande
  185. South Fork San Miguel River
  186. South Fork South Platte River
  187. South Fork Swan River
  188. South Fork West Mancos River
  189. South Fork White River
  190. South Platte River 62,738 km2 (24,223 mi2)
  191. Spring Creek
  192. Spruce Creek
  193. Swan River
  194. Tarryall Creek
  195. Taylor River 1,258 km2 (486 mi2)
  196. Tomichi Creek 2,874 km2 (1,109 mi2)
  197. Trinchera Creek
  198. Two Butte Creek 2,107 km2 (814 mi2)
  199. Uncompahgre River 2,921 km2 (1,128 mi2)
  200. Vermillion Creek 2,500 km2 (965 mi2)
  201. West Branch Laramie River
  202. West Dolores River
  203. West Fork Animas River
  204. West Fork Cimarron River
  205. West Fork Elk River
  206. West Fork Encampment River
  207. West Fork Little Thompson River
  208. West Fork North Fork Purgatoire River
  209. West Fork Rio Chama
  210. West Fork San Juan River
  211. West Mancos River
  212. White River 12,989 km2 (5,015 mi2)
  213. White Woman Creek 3,000 km2 (1,158 mi2)
  214. Williams Fork (Colorado River)
  215. Williams Fork (Yampa River)
  216. Willow Creek
  217. Wind River
  218. Yampa River 21,506 km2 (8,304 mi2)
  219. Yellow Creek 760 km2 (293 mi2)

Notes[edit]

Of the 158 named rivers that flow through the State of Colorado, all but the Green River[3][4] and Cimarron River have their headwaters in that state.

As of February 1, 2008, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names had identified 5,564 natural streams in the State of Colorado. Of this number, 147 larger streams (2.6%) were named river and 11 (0.2%) were named rio. The vast majority of the Colorado streams (5082 or 91.3%) were named creek. Of the remaining Colorado streams, 122 (2.2%) were named arroyo, 60 (1.1%) were named wash, 44 (0.8%) were named fork, 18 (0.3%) were named branch, 17 (0.3%) were named brook, 17 (0.3%) were named run, 15 (0.3%) were named rito, 10 (0.2%) were named slough, but not a single stream was named stream. Perhaps the strangest stream name in Colorado belongs to the West Fork East Fork Williams Fork located in Garfield County.

Many streams in Colorado share a name with another stream in that state. In addition to the Canadian River that is the largest tributary of the Arkansas River, there is also a Canadian River that is a tributary of the North Platte River. In addition to the Cimarron River that is another major tributary of the Arkansas River, there is also a Cimarron River that is a tributary of the Gunnison River. There is a Fall River that is a tributary of the Big Thompson River as well as a Fall River that is a tributary of Clear Creek.

There are 72 streams in the State of Colorado that are named Willow Creek, 71 streams named Spring Creek, 53 streams named Cottonwood Creek, 49 streams named Bear Creek, 49 streams named Beaver Creek, 48 streams named Dry Creek, 33 steams named Rock Creek, 33 streams named Sand Creek, and 32 steams named Mill Creek. The Arkansas River and the Colorado River flow through Colorado, as do a Florida River, an Idaho Creek, an Illinois River, an Indiana Creek, a Maryland Creek, a Michigan River, a Minnesota Creek, six Missouri Creeks, a Montana Creek, two New York Creeks, two Ohio Creeks, two Pennsylvania Creeks, two Tennessee Creeks, seven Texas Creeks, and a Virginia Creek.

Tributary chart[edit]

The following tributary chart shows many important streams that flow through the State of Colorado including all 158 named rivers. The chart is arranged by tributary and area of the drainage basin.[1] The names of the 17 Colorado rivers with a drainage basin of more than 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 sq mi) are shown in bold. Oceans and streams outside of Colorado are shown in italics.

Pacific Ocean

  1. Gulf of California
    1. Colorado River
      1. Green River
        1. Yampa River 21,506 km2 (8,304 mi2)
          1. Little Snake River 10,629 km2 (4,104 mi2)
            1. Roaring Fork Little Snake River
            2. Middle Fork Little Snake River
            3. North Fork Little Snake River
            4. South Fork Little Snake River
            5. Williams Fork
          2. Bear River
          3. Elk River
            1. South Fork Elk River
            2. Middle Fork Elk River
            3. North Fork Elk River
        2. White River 12,989 km2 (5,015 mi2)
          1. Piceance Creek 1,630 km2 (629 mi2)
          2. Yellow Creek 760 km2 (293 mi2)
          3. North Fork White River
          4. South Fork White River
        3. Vermillion Creek 2,500 km2 (965 mi2)
      2. upper Colorado River
        1. Gunnison River[5] 20,851 km2 (8,051 mi2)
          1. Uncompahgre River 2,921 km2 (1,128 mi2)
          2. Tomichi Creek 2,874 km2 (1,109 mi2)
          3. North Fork Gunnison River 2,492 km2 (962 mi2)
          4. Lake Fork Gunnison River
          5. Taylor River 1,258 km2 (486 mi2)
          6. East River 762 km2 (294 mi2)
            1. Slate River
          7. Cimarron River
            1. Little Cimarron River
              1. East Fork Little Cimarron River
            2. East Fork Cimarron River
            3. Middle Fork Cimarron River
            4. West Fork Cimarron River
        2. Dolores River 11,998 km2 (4,633 mi2)
          1. San Miguel River 4,060 km2 (1,567 mi2)
            1. South Fork San Miguel River
          2. West Dolores River
          3. Rio Lado
        3. Roaring Fork River 3,766 km2 (1,454 mi2)
          1. Crystal River
            1. North Fork Crystal River
            2. South Fork Crystal River
              1. East Fork South Fork Crystal River
          2. Fryingpan River
            1. North Fork Fryingpan River
            2. South Fork Fryingpan River
        4. Eagle River 2,515 km2 (971 mi2)
          1. Gore Creek
          2. East Fork Eagle River
          3. South Fork Eagle River
        5. Blue River 1,770 km2 (683 mi2)
          1. Snake River
            1. North Fork Snake River
          2. Swan River
            1. Middle Fork Swan River
            2. North Fork Swan River
            3. South Fork Swan River
        6. Little Dolores River
        7. Fraser River
        8. Williams Fork
        9. Piney River
          1. North Fork Piney River
          2. South Fork Piney River
            1. First Fork South Fork Piney River
        10. Parachute Creek
        11. Roan Creek
        12. Plateau Creek
        13. Muddy Creek
        14. Willow Creek
      3. San Juan River 64,560 km2 (24,927 mi2)
        1. Animas River 3,562 km2 (1,375 mi2)
          1. Florida River
          2. North Fork Animas River
          3. South Fork Animas River
          4. West Fork Animas River
        2. Montezuma Creek 3,044 km2 (1,175 mi2)
        3. Mancos River 2,099 km2 (810 mi2)
          1. East Mancos River
            1. Middle Mancos River
          2. West Mancos River
            1. North Fork West Mancos River
            2. South Fork West Mancos River
        4. McElmo Creek 1,842 km2 (711 mi2)
        5. Piedra River 1,770 km2 (683 mi2)
          1. First Fork Piedra River
          2. East Fork Piedra River
          3. Middle Fork Piedra River
        6. La Plata River
        7. Navajo River
          1. Little Navajo River
          2. East Fork Navajo River
        8. Los Pinos River
          1. North Fork Los Pinos River
        9. Rio Blanco
        10. East Fork San Juan River
        11. West Fork San Juan River

Atlantic Ocean

  1. Gulf of Mexico
    1. Mississippi River
      1. Missouri River
        1. Platte River
          1. North Platte River 80,755 km2 (31,180 mi2)
            1. Laramie River 11,961 km2 (4,618 mi2)
              1. Sand Creek
              2. West Branch Laramie River
                1. North Fork West Branch Laramie River
            2. Encampment River
              1. West Fork Encampment River
            3. Canadian River
              1. North Fork Canadian River
              2. South Fork Canadian River
            4. Michigan River
              1. Illinois River
              2. North Fork Michigan River
              3. South Fork Michigan River
              4. Dry Fork Michigan River
            5. North Fork North Platte River
          2. South Platte River 62,738 km2 (24,223 mi2)
            1. Lodgepole Creek 8,374 km2 (3,233 mi2)
            2. Cache la Poudre River 4,959 km2 (1,915 mi2)
              1. North Fork Cache la Poudre River
              2. South Fork Cache la Poudre River
              3. Spring Creek
            3. Crow Creek 3,717 km2 (1,435 mi2)
            4. Bijou Creek 3,612 km2 (1,395 mi2)
            5. Beaver Creek 2,939 km2 (1,135 mi2)
            6. Saint Vrain Creek 2,572 km2 (993 mi2)
              1. Boulder Creek 1,160 km2 (448 mi2)[2]
              2. Left Hand Creek
            7. Big Thompson River 2,149 km2 (830 mi2)
              1. Little Thompson River
                1. North Fork Little Thompson River
                2. West Fork Little Thompson River
              2. Fall River
                1. Roaring River
              3. North Fork Big Thompson River
              4. Aspen Brook
                1. Wind River
              5. Spruce Creek
                1. Hidden River
              6. Fish Creek
            8. Sidney Draw 1,949 km2 (753 mi2)
            9. Kiowa Creek 1,888 km2 (729 mi2)
            10. Pawnee Creek 1,875 km2 (724 mi2)
            11. Clear Creek 1,497 km2 (578 mi2)
              1. Ralston Creek
              2. Fall River
            12. Cherry Creek 1,050 km2 (405 mi2)
            13. North Fork South Platte River
              1. Geneva Creek
            14. Middle Fork South Platte River
            15. South Fork South Platte River
            16. Lone Tree Creek
              1. Owl Creek
            17. Tarryall Creek
            18. Sand Creek
            19. Bear Creek 339 km2 (131 mi2)
            20. Big Dry Creek
            21. Little Dry Creek
        2. Kansas River
          1. Republican River
            1. North Fork Republican River 13,172 km2 (5,086 mi2)
            2. Arikaree River 4,429 km2 (1,710 mi2)
              1. North Fork Arikaree River
            3. Frenchman Creek 7,398 km2 (2,856 mi2)
            4. Sappa Creek
              1. Beaver Creek
                1. South Fork Beaver Creek 1,939 km2 (749 mi2)
                2. Little Beaver Creek 1,602 km2 (619 mi2)
            5. South Fork Republican River 7,195 km2 (2,778 mi2)
          2. Smoky Hill River 51,783 km2 (19,994 mi2)
            1. Ladder Creek 3,645 km2 (1,407 mi2)
            2. North Fork Smoky Hill River 1,965 km2 (759 mi2)
      2. Arkansas River 478,501 km2 (184,750 mi2)
        1. Canadian River 122,701 km2 (47,375 mi2)
          1. Vermejo River
            1. North Fork Vermejo River
        2. Cimarron River 44,890 km2 (17,332 mi2)
          1. North Fork Cimarron River 4,462 km2 (1,723 mi2)
            1. Sand Arroyo Creek 1,938 km2 (748 mi2)
        3. Purgatoire River 8,923 km2 (3,445 mi2)
          1. North Fork Purgatoire River
            1. West Fork North Fork Purgatoire River
          2. Middle Fork Purgatoire River
          3. South Fork Purgatoire River
        4. Huerfano River 4,840 km2 (1,869 mi2)
          1. Cucharas River
            1. Hill Branch Cucharas River
            2. South Fork Cucharas River
          2. South Fork Huerfano River
        5. Big Sandy Creek 4,825 km2 (1,863 mi2)
          1. Rush Creek 3,570 km2 (1,378 mi2)
        6. Horse Creek 3,680 km2 (1,421 mi2)
        7. Apishapa River 2,798 km2 (1,080 mi2)
          1. North Fork Apishapa River
        8. Fountain Creek 2,418 km2 (933 mi2)
        9. Two Butte Creek 2,107 km2 (814 mi2)
        10. Chico Creek 1,934 km2 (747 mi2)
        11. South Arkansas River
          1. Middle Fork South Arkansas River
          2. North Fork South Arkansas River
        12. Saint Charles River
          1. North Saint Charles River
        13. East Fork Arkansas River
        14. Chalk Creek
        15. Bear Creek Basin (endorheic basin)
          1. Bear Creek 4,500 km2 (1,737 mi2)
        16. White Woman Basin (endorheic basin)
          1. White Woman Creek 3,000 km2 (1,158 mi2)
    2. Rio Grande 457,275 km2 (176,555 mi2)
      1. Rio Chama 8,204 km2 (3,168 mi2)
        1. Rio Chamita
        2. East Fork Rio Chama
        3. West Fork Rio Chama
      2. Conejos River 2,078 km2 (802 mi2)
        1. Rio San Antonio
          1. Rio de los Piños
            1. North Fork Rio de los Piños
        2. Middle Fork Conejos River
        3. North Branch Conejos River
        4. North Fork Conejos River
        5. South Fork Conejos River
        6. Adams Fork Conejos River
      3. South Fork Rio Grande
      4. Alamosa River 383 km2 (148 mi2)
      5. Trinchera Creek
      6. San Luis Closed Basin (endorheic basin)
        1. San Luis Creek 7,000 km2 (2,703 mi2)
          1. Saguache Creek 3,482 km2 (1,345 mi2)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gustafson, Daniel L. (2003-01-24). "Hydrologic Unit Project". Montana State University, Environmental Statistics Group. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  2. ^ a b Murphy, Sheila F. (2006). State of the watershed: Water quality of Boulder Creek, Colorado (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1284. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. ISBN 1-4113-0954-5. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  3. ^ a b The Colorado River originally began at the confluence of the Green River and the Grand River in what is now Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Thus, the namesake river of the State of Colorado did not flow through that state. On July 25, 1921, House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River over the objections of the U.S. Geological Survey which noted that the drainage basin of the Green River was more than 70% more extensive than that of the Grand River.
  4. ^ a b The headwaters of the Green River are located in the Wind River Mountains of the State of Wyoming.
  5. ^ a b The Gunnison River Basin is the most extensive river basin exclusively within the State of Colorado.

External links[edit]