List of rivers in Arizona (U.S. state), sorted by name.
A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
This list is arranged by drainage basin, with respective tributaries indented under each larger stream's name.
Fossil Creek is a perennial stream near the community of Strawberry in the U.S. state of Arizona. A tributary of the Verde River, Fossil Creek flows from its headwaters on the Mogollon Rim to meet the larger stream near the former Childs Power Plant.
Granite Creek is a 38-mile (61 km) tributary of the Verde River in the U.S. state of Arizona. It flows generally north-northeast from the Bradshaw Mountains of west-central Arizona through the city of Prescott and the Granite Dells to meet the river at the north end of the Little Chino Valley east of Sullivan Lake.
Tonto Creek is a 72.5-mile-long (116.7 km) stream located in the Mogollon Rim area of the state of Arizona on the north edge of the Tonto National Forest. The closest town, Payson, is 18 miles (29 km) away. Tonto Creek is a stream that flows year round, starting just below the Mogollon Rim, at the northern edge of Tonto National Forest. The creek continues its descent through the Hellsgate Wilderness area and eventually into a wide valley in the Sonoran Desert. It continues through the desert and into the Salt River within the north end of Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The facilities are maintained by Tonto National Forest division of the USDA Forest Service.
The Cañada del Oro, is a primary watershed channel in the valley of Tucson, Arizona, USA. The word cañada has a tilde (ñ) and is pronounced [kaˈɲaða] in Spanish; in English it is pronounced kə-NYAH-də, not like the country of Canada.
Madera Canyon is a canyon in the northwestern face of the Santa Rita Mountains, twenty-five miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona. As part of the Coronado National Forest, Madera Canyon has campsites, picnic areas, and miles of hiking trails. The canyon is also used as a resting place for migrating birds, and it is thus known as a premier birdwatching area. Madera Canyon was originally named White House Canyon, after a prominent white adobe house was built there in the late 19th century. The canyon was renamed sometime in the early 1900s, although some locals still use the original name.
Brawley Wash is an ephemeral stream, tributary to the Santa Cruz River, located in Pima County. Its source is in the Altar Valley between the Sierrita and Coyote Mountains at, at the confluence of the Altar and Alambre washes along Arizona State Route 286. It flows north-north east through the Altar Valley and turns north as it enters Avra Valley near Robles Junction where Arizona State Route 86 crosses the streambed. The wash traverses the Avra Valley between the Roskruge Mountains and the Tucson Mountains. It joins the Santa Cruz east of the Samaniego Hills of the Silver Bell Mountains. The wash is known as the Los Robles Wash near its junction with the Santa Cruz approximately six miles west of Avra and Interstate 10.
The Salt River is a stream in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is the largest tributary of the Gila River. The river is about 200 miles (320 km) long. Its drainage basin is about 13,700 square miles (35,000 km2) large. The longest of the Salt River's many tributaries is the 195-mile (314 km) Verde River. The Salt's headwaters tributaries, the Black River and East Fork, increase the river's total length to about 300 miles (480 km). The name Salt River comes from the fact that the river flows over large salt deposits shortly after the merging of the White and Black Rivers.
The Arizona Canal is a major canal in central Maricopa County that led to the founding of several communities, now among the wealthier neighborhoods of suburban Phoenix, in the late 1880s. Flood irrigation of residential yards is still common in these neighborhoods, using a system of lateral waterways connected via gates to the canal itself. Like most Valley canals, its banks are popular with joggers and bicyclists.
The Verde River is a major tributary of the Salt River in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is about 170 miles (270 km) long and carries a mean flow of 602 cubic feet per second (17.0 m3/s) at its mouth. It is one of the largest perennial streams in Arizona.
Tenmile Wash is an ephemeral wash and watercourse about 85 miles (137 km) long in the northern Sonoran Desert of south-central Arizona. It forms the eastern drainage of a two drainage system of dry washes into the Gila River Valley; both flow northwesterly, and the western drainage is the San Cristobal Wash Drainage of approximately the same length.
Centennial Wash is an ephemeral dry wash that forms the final watershed of the Gila River in central Arizona — before the river turns south. From the Centennial Wash confluence, the Gila turns south, then southwest to exit Arizona on the California border adjacent Yuma.
The Hassayampa River is an intermittent river, the headwaters of which are just south of Prescott, Arizona, United States, and flows mostly south towards Wickenburg entering the Gila River near Hassayampa, Arizona. Although the river has only subsurface flow for much of the year, it has significant perennial flows above ground within the Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness and the Nature Conservancy's Hassayampa River Preserve, near Wickenburg. The river is about 113 miles (182 km) long, with a watershed of 1,410 square miles (3,700 km2), most of it desert.
The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.
The Gila River is a 649-mile (1,044 km) tributary of the Colorado River flowing through New Mexico and Arizona in the United States. The river drains an arid watershed of nearly 60,000 square miles (160,000 km2) that lies mainly within the U.S. but also extends into northern Sonora, Mexico. Indigenous peoples have lived along the river for at least 2,000 years, establishing complex agricultural societies before European exploration of the region began in the 16th century. However, European Americans did not permanently settle the Gila River watershed until the mid-19th century.
The San Cristobal Wash is an ephemeral wash and watercourse of the San Cristobal Valley, flowing north into the Gila River Valley of the southwestern desert region of Arizona. Besides Death Valley, the Chihuahuan Desert area, and regions of Baja Peninsula North America, the southeast California deserts along the Lower Colorado River Valley, this drainage region is in the harshest desert regions of North America.
The Western Apache live primarily in east central Arizona, in the United States. Most live within reservations. The Fort Apache Indian Reservation, San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Tonto Apache, and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation are home to the majority of Western Apache and are the bases of their federally recognized tribes. In addition, there are numerous bands. The Western Apache bands call themselves Ndee (Indé) ; because of dialectical differences the Pinaleño/Pinal and Arivaipa/Aravaipa bands of the San Carlos Apache pronounce the word Innee or Nnēē:.
The Tonto Apache is one of the groups of Western Apache people. The term is also used for their dialect, one of the three dialects of the Western Apache language. The Chiricahua living to the south called them Ben-et-dine or binii?e'dine'. The neighboring Western Apache ethnonym for them was Koun'nde, from which the Spanish derived their use of Tonto for the group. The kindred but enemy Navajo to the north called both the Tonto Apache and their allies, the Yavapai, Dilzhʼíʼ dinéʼiʼ - “People with high-pitched voices”).
Sonoita Creek is a stream in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. It originates near and takes its name from the abandoned Pima mission in the high valley near Sonoita. It flows steadily for the first 15 miles (24 km) of its westward course past Patagonia, its bird sanctuary and Patagonia Lake, but sinks beneath the sand seven to eight miles (13 km) before joining the Santa Cruz River a few miles north of Nogales. This confluence provides water for Tumacácori and Tubac and collects in the marsh lands around San Xavier del Bac downstream, to the north. The Santa Rita Mountains lie to the north and the Canelo Hills, Red Mountain and the Patagonia Mountains lie to the south. Harshaw Creek is a southern tributary which joins the Sonoita near Patagonia. Harshaw Creek drains the area between the Patagonia Mountains to the west and the high San Rafael Valley grasslands to the east. The ghost town of Harshaw lies within its watershed. Sonoita Creek contains black bullhead, red shiner, mosquitofish, crayfish, American bullfrogs, largemouth bass, Gila topminnows, speckled dace, longfin dace, Sonora suckers, and desert suckers.
The Sierra Ancha is a mountain range in Gila County, in central Arizona. It lies between Roosevelt Lake to the south, the Tonto Basin to the west, Cherry Creek to the east, and Pleasant Valley to the north. The range is one of several, including the Bradshaw Mountains, Mingus Mountain of the Black Hills, and the Mazatzal Mountains, which form a transitional zone between the lowland deserts of southern Arizona and the Colorado Plateau of northeastern Arizona. The highest point in the range is Aztec Peak, at an elevation of 2345 m (7694 ft).
Yavapai are a Native American tribe in Arizona. Historically, the Yavapai – literally “people of the sun” – were divided into four geographical bands who identified as separate, independent peoples: the Ɖo:lkabaya, or Western Yavapai; the Yavbe', or Northwestern Yavapai; the Guwevkabaya, or Southeastern Yavapai; and the Wi:pukba, or Northeastern Yavapai - Verde Valley Yavapai.
The Rio San Bernardino, or San Bernardino River, begins in extreme southeastern Cochise County, Arizona, and is a tributary of the Bavispe River, in Sonora, Mexico.
The Grand Canyon Supergroup is a Mesoproterozoic to Neoproterozoic sequence of sedimentary strata, mostly exposed in the eastern Grand Canyon of Arizona. This group is composed of the Unkar Group, Nankoweap Formation, Chuar Group and the Sixtymile Formation, which overlie Vishnu Basement Rocks. Several notable landmarks of the Grand Canyon, such as the "Isis Temple and Cheops Pyramid" and the "Apollo Temple," are surface manifestations of the Grand Canyon Supergroup.
Ciénega Creek is an intermittent stream located in the Basin and Range region of southern Arizona, and is one of the most intact riparian corridors left in the state. It originates in the Canelo Hills and continues northwest about 50 miles (80 km) to an area just outside Tucson, where it becomes known as Pantano Wash. Pantano Wash continues through Tucson and eventually connects with the Rillito River.
The Babocomari River is a major tributary of the upper San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona. The river begins in the Sonoita Basin near the community of Elgin, Arizona, and flows eastward for approximately 25 miles (40 km) before merging with the San Pedro, just south of the Fairbank Historic Townsite in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. The Babocomari drains an area of about 310 square miles (800 km2), including the northern Huachuca Mountains, the northwestern Canelo Hills, and the southern Mustang Mountains, and is one of three drainages of the Sonoita Basin, the other two being Sonoita Creek and Cienega Creek. Vegetation consists of riparian trees along the main channel and small marshy grasslands.
Whitewater Draw, originally Rio de Agua Prieta, [Spanish: river of dark water], is a tributary stream of the Rio de Agua Prieta in Cochise County, Arizona. It was called Blackwater Creek by Philip St. George Cooke when his command, the Mormon Battalion, camped at a spring on its course on December 5, 1846.