Powder River (Montana)

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Coordinates: 46°44′00″N 105°26′02″W / 46.73333°N 105.43389°W / 46.73333; -105.43389
Powder River
EDZ Irigary Bridge.jpg
The EDZ Irigary Bridge over the Powder River
Country United States
States Wyoming, Montana
 - left Crazy Woman Creek, Clear Creek[disambiguation needed], Mizpah Creek
 - right Wild Horse Creek, Little Powder River
Source Confluence of Middle Fork and North Fork
 - location Near Kaycee, Wyoming
 - elevation 4,564 ft (1,391 m)
 - coordinates 43°40′30″N 106°30′45″W / 43.67500°N 106.51250°W / 43.67500; -106.51250 [1]
Mouth Yellowstone River
 - location Near Terry, Montana
 - elevation 2,241 ft (683 m)
 - coordinates 46°44′00″N 105°26′02″W / 46.73333°N 105.43389°W / 46.73333; -105.43389 [1]
Length 375 mi (604 km)
Basin 21,875 sq mi (56,656 km2)
Discharge for Locate, MT
 - average 558 cu ft/s (16 m3/s)
 - max 31,000 cu ft/s (878 m3/s)
 - min 0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)
Map of the Powder River basin

Powder River (Assiniboine: Caȟní wakpá [2]) is a tributary of the Yellowstone River, approximately 375 miles (604 km) long in the southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming in the United States. It drains an area historically known as the Powder River Country on the high plains east of the Bighorn Mountains.

It rises in three forks in eastern Wyoming. The North and Middle forks rise along the eastern slope of the Bighorn Mountains. The South Fork rises on the north slope of Garfield Peak in the Granite Mountains west of Casper. The three forks meet on the foothills east of the Bighorns near the town of Kaycee. The combined stream flows northward, east of the Bighorns, and into Montana. It is joined by the Little Powder near the town of Broadus, and joins the Yellowstone approximately 50 miles (80 km) downriver from Miles City, Montana. The Powder River was so named because the sand along a portion of its banks resembled gunpowder.[3]

The Powder River Basin near the Montana/Wyoming border is a major source of low-sulfur coal mined in the United States.

Variant names[edit]

Powder River has also been known as: Ce-than-i-ci-a, Chakadee Wakpa, Red Stone River, Redstone River, Wa ha Sah, Wah-har-sop, Wahasah, War-har-sa, and War-rak-sash.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Powder River". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "AISRI Dictionary Database Search--prototype version. Assiniboine. "Montana"". Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  3. ^ Urbanek, Mae (1988). Wyoming Place Names. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87842-204-8.