Ohio River

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This article is about Ohio River. For other uses of the term Ohio, please see Ohio (disambiguation).
Navigable branches of the Ohio River, from 1897, from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Ohio River is the largest tributary of the Mississippi River, by volume. It flows for 981 miles from Pittsburgh to where the river empties into the Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois.

The Ohio River drains a basin of 204,000 square miles.[1] The Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet at what is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to form the Ohio.[2] Other tributaries include the Green, Cumberland, Tennessee, Beaver, Muskingum, Scioto, Miami, and Wabash rivers.

Before engineers built locks, and dredged shallow reaches, the river's average speed was five miles per hour.[1]

The Falls of the Ohio, at present day Louisville, Kentucky, was the only navigational obstacle on the Ohio, until it was circumvented by a canal.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael C. Robinson (January 1983). History of Navigation in the Ohio River Basin. US Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved on 2021-03-15. 
  2. History of navigation development on the Ohio River. US Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved on 2021-03-15. “Through the heart of this vast area, the 981 mile-long Ohio River carries the largest volume of water of any of the Mississippi River tributaries. The Ohio is formed by the juncture of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and empties into the Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois.”