Raft River

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Raft River
Snake River watershed map.png
Map of the Snake River watershed, USA
CountryUnited States
StateIdaho / Utah
Physical characteristics
SourceAlbion Mountains
 • locationCassia County, Idaho and Box Elder County, Utah
MouthSnake River
 • location
Cassia County, Idaho
 • coordinates
42°36′20″N 113°14′26″W / 42.60556°N 113.24056°W / 42.60556; -113.24056Coordinates: 42°36′20″N 113°14′26″W / 42.60556°N 113.24056°W / 42.60556; -113.24056

The Raft River is a 108-mile-long (174 km)[1] tributary of the Snake River located in northern Utah and southern Idaho in the United States. It is part of the Columbia River Basin.


The Raft River's headwaters are mostly on the east side of the Albion Mountains, southeast of Oakley, Idaho. But its Clear Creek tributary also drains the north side of the Raft River Mountains in Utah, and runoff from the nearby Grouse Creek Range also flows into the Raft River.[2] Portions of the Black Pine and Sublett mountains are also in the river's watershed. The river flows generally north to join the Snake River in Cassia County, Idaho.


The Raft River's drainage basin includes four divisions of Sawtooth National Forest, and is approximately 1,506 square miles (3,901 km2) in area, of which approximately 95% of the overall area is in Idaho.[2]


The river is named for the fact Oregon Trail pioneers would cross the river with rafts, which was often flooded as a result of beaver dams.[3]

The Oregon Trail crossed the Raft River approximately 2 miles (3 km) south of Interstate 86. At the top of the bluff above Raft River, the "Parting of the Ways" took place. The Oregon Trail continued west, and the California Trail headed south. Graves of those who died from being mortally wounded at Massacre Rocks can be found in the same area along the river. The Clark Massacre of 1851 took place near the Raft River itself.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed May 4, 2011
  2. ^ a b Upper Snake, Headwaters, Closed Basin Subbasins Plan Plan Archived 2012-02-13 at the Wayback Machine, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
  3. ^ Rees, John E. (1918). Idaho Chronology, Nomenclature, Bibliography. W.B. Conkey Company. p. 104.

External links[edit]

U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Raft River