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Canadian River

From Academic Kids

This article coves the river in the American Southwest. For other uses, see Canadian River (disambiguation)

The Canadian River is the largest tributary of the Arkansas River. It is about 760 miles long, starting in Colorado and traveling through New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, and most of Oklahoma.

It rises on the east side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, at approximately 9600 ft, in remote southwestern Las Animas County, Colorado, approximately 1.5 mi (2.5 km) north of the New Mexico border. It flows ESE across the border, then south, passing west of Raton, New Mexico. It forms a deep canyon south of Springer, New Mexico. At its first dam at Conchas Lake, the river turns eastward. It is also dammed at Logan, New Mexico, where it forms Ute Lake. From there it crosses the Texas Panhandle, dammed at Sanford, Texas, where it forms Lake Meredith. The canyon the river carves through eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle is the northern border of the Llano Estacado, separating it from the rest of the Great Plains. From Texas the Canadian continues eastward into Oklahoma, passing just south of Oklahoma City. At Eufaula, Oklahoma, it is dammed once again, forming Lake Eufaula, its largest. About 20 miles downstream it joins the Arkansas River, about 40 miles west of the Arkansas border.

Much of the time the Canadian is just a slow trickle bounded by red mud flats and quicksand. When sufficient rain has fallen, the river can carry substantial amounts of water.

The Canadian is sometimes referred to as the South Canadian River to differentiate it from the North Canadian River that flows into it.

It is unclear why the river is called the Canadian. Some believe that early explorers thought that the river flowed into Canada. It does flow northeast through part of the Texas Panhandle.

The river was explored in 1845 by Lieutenants James William Abert and William G. Peck of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. Their journey was chronicled in the Journal of Lieutenant J.W. Abert from Bentís Fort to St. Louis, first published in 1846.

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