West Walker River

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West Walker River
At Winter s End by burnintree.jpg
West Walker River viewed near U.S. Highway 395
Walker Lake.jpg
Walker River, showing the West Walker and East Walker rivers
CountryUnited States
StateCalifornia, Nevada
Physical characteristics
SourceSierra Nevada
 • locationCalifornia
 • coordinates38°08′24″N 119°30′28″W / 38.14000°N 119.50778°W / 38.14000; -119.50778[1]
 • elevation9,640 ft (2,940 m)
MouthWalker River
 • location
Yerington, Nevada
 • coordinates
38°53′35″N 119°10′44″W / 38.89306°N 119.17889°W / 38.89306; -119.17889Coordinates: 38°53′35″N 119°10′44″W / 38.89306°N 119.17889°W / 38.89306; -119.17889[1]
 • elevation
4,442 ft (1,354 m)
Length95 mi (153 km)
Basin size964 sq mi (2,500 km2)
 • locationHudson, Nevada
 • average195 cu ft/s (5.5 m3/s)
 • minimum10 cu ft/s (0.28 m3/s)
 • maximum11,240 cu ft/s (318 m3/s)

The West Walker River is a tributary of the Walker River, approximately 95 miles (153 km) long,[2] in eastern California and western Nevada in the United States. It drains part of the Sierra Nevada range along the California-Nevada border in the watershed of Walker Lake in the Great Basin. The river derives its name from Joseph R. Walker, a mountain man.[3]

It rises from snowmelt in the Sierras of northwestern Mono County, north of Yosemite National Park approximately 20 miles (32 km) south-southwest of Walker in the Emigrant Wilderness.[4] It flows north, along the west side of the Sweetwater Mountains, emerging into the Antelope Valley, a ranching region around Walker. It flows north past Coleville and Topaz and enters southern Douglas County, Nevada southwest of Carson City. In Nevada it flows northeast, joining the East Walker River from the west 7 mi (11.3 km) south of Yerington to form the Walker River.

The river is heavily used for irrigation in the ranching valleys along its lower course. Its waters are diverted along its upper course to form Topaz Lake along the California-Nevada border. It receives the Little Walker River from the south near its source in the mountains.

U.S. Highway 395 passes through the West Walker River Valley, connecting it via Devil's Gate Pass to the East Walker River; Sonora Pass and Monitor Pass lead from the valley into the Sierra Nevada and the Carson River valley. In January 1997 a record-setting flood along the West Walker River destroyed 10 miles (16 km) of U.S. 395. This section of road was rebuilt in six months. The silt carried by the river settled in Topaz Lake, hurting the trout population there.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: West Walker River
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 17, 2011
  3. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1941). Origin of Place Names: Nevada (PDF). W.P.A. p. 21.
  4. ^ "West Walker River, Pickle Meadows". Sierra Drifters Guide Service. Retrieved 2009-12-07.