West Virginia has a sprawling landscape that is lined by long rivers. Read on below to find out more about some of the state’s major rivers.

Elk River

Originating in Pocahontas County, the Elk River runs through to Charleston to join the Kanawha River. It is estimated to be about 172 miles long. Although not the longest river in West Virginia, the Elk River plays a major role in the provision of water to the local population.


The Ohio River is also ranked as one of the major rivers in West Virginia even though it only runs along the northwestern border with Ohio. As the longest river in West Virginia, it is 277 miles long. The river is under the control of West Virginia. It is worth noting that the river’s widest point is a mile wide. The Mississippi River is identified as the largest tributary of the Ohio River judging from the volume of water it supplies.

The New River

Despite its name, the New River is rated as one of the oldest rivers on earth as per the records of the National Park Service. The river’s white water rapids have raised its profile to a highly popular tourist attraction in the state. The river is 57 miles long.

The Gauley River

This is definitely one of the most peaceful rivers in West Virginia; that is before the Summersville Dam dumps its water into it around October. This turns it into a great place for a variety of water sports. The Gauley River and the New River join to form the Kanawha River.


Identified as one of the tributaries of the Ohio River, the Kanawha river originates from the Gauley bridge, flowing towards the northwest, and joins the Ohio River at Point Pleasant. The river is estimated to be 97 miles long. One of its well-known tributaries is the Coal River.

Monongahela River

This 130 mile long river runs through the north central portion of West Virginia, into Pennsylvania. It is usually referred to as the “mon” river, a shortened form of its rather long name.

The Blackwater River

Although not the longest river in West Virginia, Blackwater River is definitely filled with intrigue. The 34 mile long river originates from the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, and joins the Cheat River as one of its tributaries. The river’s dark waters are as a result of the hemlock and spruce trees located at its watershed area.

Regardless of which river you decide to visit, we’re sure the result will be a fun adventure.

Major Rivers Run Through West Virginia