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It is 864 km (537 mi) long and rises in Guizhou province in the Miao Mountains near Tu-yün and is navigable. The upper stream is called the Lung-t'ou River, and downstream it is called the Ch'ing-shui (Qingshui) River. It becomes the Yüan River after its confluence with its northern tributary, the Wu River.
After its merger with the Wu River, the Yuan flows in a northeasterly direction, hugging the western side of the Xuefeng Mountainsof Hunan. Ultimately, the Yuan flows into the Dongting Lake at Changde and from there into the Yangtze River. The Yuan serves as a major waterway for western Hunan and eastern Guizhou. The Yuan is navigable for large vessels up to Changde, whereas smaller boats can make it to Taoyuan.
- "Yuan River". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 20 July 2013.