Washington is the 18th largest state in the US, and was named after the nation's first president, George Washington. The state is characterized by diverse physiographic regions including the Olympic Peninsula, dense rainforests, and lowlands. The Cascade Range stretches along Washington's border with Oregon. Several rivers crisscross the state, including the Columbia River, Snake River, Yakima River, and the Grande Ronde River.
The 10 Longest Rivers in the State of Washington
The Columbia River is the largest in North America's Pacific Northwest region. It originates from the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Canada, and then flows for 1,243 miles through the states of Washington and Oregon, before discharging water at a rate of 265,000 cu ft/s into the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River basin extends across seven US states and one Canadian province, covering a total area of 258,000 square miles, which is slightly large than France.
The Snake River is the second longest river in Washington and covers a distance of 1,078 miles. It is the largest tributary of the Columbia River. The Snake River originates from eastern Oregon, and flows through the Snake River Plain and Hell Canyon, before dischargin into the Columbia River at a rate of 54,000 cu ft/s.
The Yakima River is named after the indigenous Yakama people. It is a major tributary of the Columbia River, and originates from the Keechelus Dam in the Cascade Range, and then flows for 214 miles through the cities of Yakima and Richland before discharging into the Columbia River at a rate of 3,493 cu ft/s.
Grande Ronde River
The Grande Ronde River is a major tributary of the Snake River. It originates from the Elkhorn Mountains of the Blue Mountains range. It covers a distance of 182 miles in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. The Grande Ronde River discharges into the Snake River at a rate of 3,034 cu ft/s.
The Kettle River originates from Holmes Lake in the Monashee Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. The river flows southwards into Ferry County in northeastern Washington, before looping and turning back towards Canada. It flows through Grand Forks, British Columbia, before heading back south and reentering the United States. The Kettle River covers a distance of 175 miles and ultimately discharges into the Columbia River at an average rate of 2,906 cu ft/s.
The Palouse River is a major tributary of the Snake River. It originates from the Rocky Mountains of northern Idaho, and flows for 167 miles through the Palouse region, after which the river is named, before draining into the Snake River just below the Little Goose Dam at an average rate of 599 cu ft/s.
The Crab Creek is a perennial stream and tributary of the Columbia River. It originates from the Columbia River Plateau, and flows for 163 miles before it empties into the Columbia River, near the town of Beverly, at a rate of 201 cu ft/s. The river is also known as Crab Creek due to the presence of crayfish.
The Skagit River flows from southwestern British Columbia into northwestern Washington. It covers a distance of 150 miles before discharging into the Skagit Forks at an average rate of 16,530 cu ft/s. The Baker, Sauk, and Cascade Rivers are the tributaries of the Skagit River.
Other lengthy rivers in the state of Washington include the Pend Oreille River (130 miles) and the Similkameen River (122 miles).