The Snake River is one of the major rivers of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is approximately 1078 miles (1735 km) long and drains an area of about 108000 square miles (280000 km2) which is about one-fifth of the area of the United States west of the Rocky Mountains. Its average discharge is over 54000 cubic feet per second (1500 m3/s) and it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River which it joins at the Tri-Cities in Washington.
The Snake River watershed includes parts of six states: Wyoming Idaho Montana Oregon Washington and Nevada. It rises in western Wyoming in the Teton Range then flows west through Jackson Hole and the Snake River Plain through southern Idaho and eastern Oregon reaching Washington just north of the Tri-Cities. It turns sharply north forming the Idaho–Oregon boundary before regaining its westerly course in Washington making a large bend to the west through the Columbia River Plateau in central Washington and finally turning north along the eastern slope of the Cascade Range where it empties into the Columbia River just east of the Tri-Cities.
The Snake River is the 12th longest river in the United States and the 20th longest in North America. Its drainage basin is the 16th largest in the United States encompassing all or part of five states. It has been dammed numerous times for irrigation flood control and hydroelectric power generation.
The Snake River is named for the Snake Indian tribe that inhabited the area at the time of European-American settlement. Lewis and Clark named the river after meeting with the tribe in 1805.
The earliest known human inhabitants of the Snake River watershed were the Plateau people. By the late Eocene (38 million years ago) the wasp-waisted brontotheres had disappeared from the fossil record and the region was home to horses rhinoceroses and three-toed ungulates. The first recorded explorers of the Snake were members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who encountered the river in August 1805.
The river was an important link in the trade between the American West and the Orient. In 1866 the first steamboat to navigate the entire length of the river the General Grant arrived in Lewiston Idaho. The steamboat era came to an end in the early 1880s when the last of the riverboats the Idaho was dismantled.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the Idaho Canal in 1905 which diverted water from the Snake River to the Boise River for irrigation. The canal was completed in 1911 and continues to operate today.
In the early 21st century the Snake River is a major source of hydroelectric power with 14 dams on the river and its tributaries generating a total capacity of more than 3000 megawatts. These dams have also created a series of reservoirs that are popular for recreation including Hells Canyon National Recreation Area the largest national recreation area in the United States.
Where does the Snake River begin?
The Snake River begins in the mountains of western Wyoming and flows through Idaho Oregon and Washington to the Columbia River.
What is the highest point in the Snake River watershed?
The highest point in the Snake River watershed is 12923 feet at the summit of Mt.
Harrison in Idaho.
What is the average depth of the Snake River?
The average depth of the Snake River is 3 feet.
What is the length of the Snake River?
The length of the Snake River is 1078 miles.
What is the average discharge of the Snake River?
The average discharge of the Snake River is 56020 cubic feet per second.
What are the major tributaries of the Snake River?
The major tributaries of the Snake River are the Hoback Greys Salt and Owyhee rivers.
What are the major dams on the Snake River?
The major dams on the Snake River are the Jackson Lake Dam the Palisades Dam the American Falls Dam and the Hells Canyon Dam.
What is the primary use of the Snake River?
The primary use of the Snake River is irrigation.
What are the major cities located along the Snake River?
The major cities located along the Snake River are Jackson Wyoming; Boise Idaho; and Pendleton Oregon.
What is the Snake River famous for?
The Snake River is famous for its whitewater rapids.
What fish can be found in the Snake River?
The fish that can be found in the Snake River are carp catfish largemouth bass smallmouth bass and trout.
What is the primary source of water for the Snake River?
The primary source of water for the Snake River is precipitation.
What are the major threats to the Snake River?
The major threats to the Snake River are water pollution and invasive species.
What is the water quality of the Snake River?
The water quality of the Snake River is fair.
What is the best time of year to boat on the Snake River?
The best time of year to boat on the Snake River is from May to September.