The 10 Longest Rivers In Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the bank of the Ohio River.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the bank of the Ohio River.

Pennsylvania is the 6th-most populous, the 33rd-largest, and the 9th-most densely populated state of the United States. The state covers 46,055 sq mi of which 490 sq mi are inland waters and 749 sq mi are Lake Erie. Several rivers in run through Pennsylvania, the longest of which is the Ohio River. 

The Longest Rivers In Pennsylvania

Ohio River

The Ohio River flows for 981 miles from the confluence of Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers in Pittsburgh to its mouth in the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois. The river flows through or borders the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. It provides water for over three million people while a further 25 million reside in the Ohio River Basin. The Army Corps of Engineers manages more than 25 dams on the Ohio River. Despite its importance, the Ohio River is among the most polluted rivers in the country due to the discharge of raw sewage and agricultural runoff.

Susquehanna River

The Susquehanna River is the 16th largest in the country and the largest rivers located entirely within the United States that flow to the Atlantic. The River and its tributaries drain an area of about 27,510 Sqm. It meanders for 464 miles from its source at the Otsego Lake, New York, to the Chesapeake Bay where it contributes half of the freshwater inflow. The river not only provides household water for thousands of Pennsylvanians but also anchors the recreation and tourism sectors of the state.

The Allegheny River

The Allegheny River meets the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to form the Ohio River. It is the larger of the two tributaries. The Allegheny flows for 325 miles through the states of New York and Pennsylvania. It drains a dissected plateau of about 11,580 sqm. The Allegheny Valley produces fossil fuel particularly natural gas, petroleum, and coal that have contributed significantly to the pollution of the river.

Delaware River

The Delaware River flows for 330 miles from Mt Jefferson, New York to the Delaware Bay. It meanders through the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Although it drains a watershed of 14,119 sq mi, the river provides drinking water to over 15 million people including the residents of Philadelphia and New York Cities. The upper and middle sections of the river remain pollution-free and are damned to provide household water, unlike the lower sections. The Delaware River Port Complex with port facilities in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey is the world’s largest freshwater port.

​River of the Year

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recognize a river as the “River of the Year” every year to create awareness on the importance of ecological, historical and recreational resources associated with streams and rivers in the state. When a river is declared the river of the year, it hosts activities throughout the year including clean-up days, paddling trips, and photography contests among many more. The 2019 Pennsylvania river of the year is the Clarion River.

The 10 Longest Rivers in Pennsylvania

1Ohio River 981 miles (1,579 km)
2Susquehanna River464 miles (747 km)
3Allegheny River325 miles (523 km)
4Delaware River 301 miles (484 km)
5West Branch Susquehanna River 243 miles (391 km)
6Genesee River157 miles (253 km)
7Schuylkill River 135 miles (217 km)
8Youghiogheny River134 miles (216 km)
9Monongahela River 130 miles (210 km)
10Raystown Branch Juniata River 123 miles (198 km)

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