Arikaree River

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Arikaree River
Arikara Fork Republican River
Arikaree River valley 2016-07-12 1283.jpg
Arikaree River Valley at the location of the Battle of Beecher Island near Wray, Colorado
Republican River watershed; the Arikaree is in orange at far left
EtymologyArikaree for horn
Native nameOnonio'he (Arikara)
CountryUnited States
StateColorado, Kansas, Nebraska
Physical characteristics
 • locationElbert County, Colorado
 • coordinates39°22′36″N 103°46′44″W / 39.37667°N 103.77889°W / 39.37667; -103.77889
 • elevation5,908 ft (1,801 m)
MouthRepublican River
 • location
Haigler, Nebraska
 • coordinates
40°01′13″N 101°56′17″W / 40.02028°N 101.93806°W / 40.02028; -101.93806Coordinates: 40°01′13″N 101°56′17″W / 40.02028°N 101.93806°W / 40.02028; -101.93806[1]
 • elevation
3,241 ft (988 m)
Length156 mi (251 km)
Basin size1,743 sq mi (4,510 km2)
 • locationUSGS 06821500 at Haigler, NE[2]
 • average16.7 cu ft/s (0.47 m3/s)
 • minimum0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)
 • maximum17,000 cu ft/s (480 m3/s)
Basin features
 • leftNorth Fork Arikaree River - Black Wolf Creek

The Arikaree River is a 156-mile-long (251 km)[3] river in the central Great Plains of North America. It lies mostly in the American state of Colorado, draining land between the North and South Forks of the Republican River, and it flows into the North Fork in Nebraska after flowing a short distance through Kansas.[4] It is a designated area within the Colorado Natural Areas Program to protect native and uncommon species that may be endangered or threatened.


The river is named after the Arikara Native Americans,[5] whose name refers to "horn".[6]


The source of the Arikaree River is in extreme eastern Elbert County, Colorado on the western edge of the High Plains region of the Great Plains.[4][7] From there, the river flows generally northeast across the High Plains in eastern Colorado. It then crosses the extreme northwestern corner of Kansas before entering far southwestern Nebraska. At the town of Haigler, the Arikaree joins with the North Fork Republican River to form the Republican River.[4]

The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, located at 39°58′41″N 102°03′06″W / 39.97806°N 102.05167°W / 39.97806; -102.05167, is the lowest point in Colorado at an elevation of 3,317 feet (1,011 m). It holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state, higher than the highest points of 18 states and the District of Columbia.[8]


Along the river is the site of the 1868 Battle of Beecher Island.

Arikaree River Natural Area[edit]

The Arikaree River has been made one of the designated areas under the Colorado Natural Areas Program because it is "part of the largest and best remaining example of a naturally functioning Great Plains river system in Colorado." It has several species of reptiles, fish, and amphibians that are native and uncommon. The area is a sanctuary for many bird species, including burrowing owls, ferruginous hawks, and greater prairie chickens. The habitat is near-pristine and there are high-quality riparian and native prairie plants.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arikaree River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
  2. ^ "Water-Data Report 2012 - 06821500 Arikaree River at Haigler, NE" (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  3. ^ "National Hydrography Dataset". National Hydrography Dataset. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Colorado [Map]" (PDF). Colorado Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  5. ^ Dawson, John Frank (1954). Place names in Colorado: why 700 communities were so named, 150 of Spanish or Indian origin. Denver, CO: The J. Frank Dawson Publishing Co. p. 7.
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 28.
  7. ^ "Physiographic Provinces of Colorado". Colorado Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  8. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. "Elevations and Distances". Archived from the original on 31 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-08.
  9. ^ "Arikaree River - CNAP". Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Retrieved November 17, 2016.

External links[edit]