The Shortest Rivers In North America

Powell River, one of the shortest rivers in North America.
Powell River, one of the shortest rivers in North America.

Although there is no specific definition of the term river, it usually refers to a flowing natural watercourse draining into another water body like a lake, ocean, sea, or another river. Some rivers might also dry up before reaching any other body of water. The length of a river varies widely and while it is easy to determine the world’s longest rivers, it is quite difficult to enlist the shortest rivers in the world. This problem arises since it often becomes arduous to ascertain the length at which a flowing watercourse can be called a river. The article here discusses the shortest rivers in the continent of North America. They are as follows:

The Roe River

According to some sources, the 201 ft or 61 m long Roe River is the shortest river in North America. The Roe begins at the Giant Springs and drains into the Missouri River near Montana’s Great Falls. The river is only 6 to 8 ft deep at its mouth. The river was recorded as the world’s shortest river in the Guinness Book of World Records after replacing the 440 ft or 130 m long D River of Oregon. A dispute soon followed and a new length of the D River which measures only 120 ft or 37 m was suggested by the people of Lincoln City to get their river back to the top spot. The ensuing dispute, however, forced Guinness to remove the category of the shortest rivers from its records.

The Los Patos River

This river is located close to the Paraíso town in the Dominican Republic’s Barahona Province. With a length of 61 m, it can also be regarded as the shortest river in the world. The name of the river interprets to ‘the ducks’. It refers to a large number of ducks encountered by the explorers at this river. Sadly the ducks went missing from the river due to overhunting. Recently, however, Muscovy ducks were introduced to the Los Patos to encourage tourism in the area.

The D River

The D River is located in Oregon’s Lincoln City. It has a length of 440 ft or 130 m. The river drains the Devils Lake and flows into the Pacific Ocean with its entire length lying within the Lincoln City’s boundaries. The area around the river is a popular recreation site and hosts two major kite festivals every year. Formerly, the river had no specific name but was called by different names. It earned the name ‘D River’ only after a contest.

Chute River

The 320 m long Chute River is located in the Cumberland County of Maine in the US. It has a length of 320 m. The river stretches between the Long Lake and the Brady Point. The Naples Bridge of the U.S. Route 302 passes over this river.

Nautley River

The Nautley River is one of the shortest rivers in North America. It has a length of 800 m. The river flows in British Columbia, Canada. It is the shortest river in the Canadian province. Another short river in British Columbia, the Powell River, gives tough competition to the Nautley River for the title of the ‘Shortest River in British Columbia.’ There is a conflict between the proponents of Powell River and those of the Nautley River as to which river is the shortest one. The entire length of the Nautley River is located within the limits of the Nadleh Whut'en First Nation Reserve.

The Powell River

This river is located in British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast region. Its length of 1005 meters makes it one of the shortest rivers in North America. The Powell River flows for some distance through the city of the same name and then drains into the Salish Sea. The river gets its name from Dr. Israel W. Powell, a Cariboo Gold Rush veteran.

The Link River

This short river of 2.4 km flows in the Klamath Falls city in Oregon, US. The river serves as the link between the Upper Klamath Lake and the Lake Ewauna. The Link River Dam lies between the two lakes. The Lake Ewauna is, in turn, drained by the Klamath River which finally drains into the Pacific Ocean.

The Comal River

The Comal River flows in the state of Texas in the US. It is the state’s shortest navigable river. It is often referred to as the "longest shortest river in the world”. The entire river flows within the New Braunfels city. The Comal River starts at the Comal Springs and finally joins the Guadalupe River. Being a tributary of the Guadalupe, the Comal was often mentioned as the Little Guadalupe by the early Spanish explorers. The present name Comal means 'basin' in Spanish. The river is currently mainly used for recreational purposes.

Which Are The Shortest Rivers In North America?

RankName of RiverLocationLength
1Roe RiverGreat Falls, Montana, United States61 meters
2Rio Los PatosBarahona, Dominican Republic61 meters
3D RiverOregon, United States130 meters
4Chute RiverMaine, United States320 meters
5Nautley RiverBritish Columbia, Canada800 meters
6Powell RiverBritish Columbia, Canada1005 meters
7Link RiverOregon, United States2.4 kilometers
8Comal RiverTexas, United States4 kilometers

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