Red River of the South

Red River at Bonham

Red River (blue) and its catchment area (yellow). The card contains a small error: in Arkansas and north Louisiana, the catchment area does not extend all the way to the Mississippi.

The Red River is a spring creek with approximately 2075 km long river (as Red River 1966 km ) in the central and southern United States and empties into the Atchafalaya River.

He is one of several rivers in the world that bear the name of Red River and one of two of this name in the U.S., where it is sometimes also called Red River of the South.


The Red River arises in northwest Texas near the border with New Mexico in the Great Plains from the confluence of four rivers source: Prairie Dog Town Fork and Elm Fork, Salt Fork and North Fork. In very rainy years, the river is even fed by streams that come from eastern New Mexico, for example, the Frio Creek, which rises north-west of Clovis, flows east and empties into the Prairie Dog Town Fork; with him the Red River is a total of up to 2188 km long.

The Prairie Dog Town Fork, the main source river of the Red River, is formed from the union of the shorter Palo Duro Creek and Tierra Blanca Creek of the longer. This occurs east of the border with New Mexico, only about 47 km (air line ) west of Hereford from the headwaters of the small Buffalo Reservoir, located since 1939 through the establishment of Umbarger Dam, within the national wildlife refuge. From there it flows in an easterly direction, to unite in Canyon with the Palo Duro Creek on Prairie Dog Town Fork. This flows within the Palo Duro Canyon ( in the same State Park ) to the east and forms later - already as Red River - the border of Texas and Oklahoma; in this section open Elm Fork, Salt Fork and North Fork one. After flowing through the Texoma Reservoir, it forms the border between Texas and Arkansas, belong to the track as both banks. Then, the Red River reached the border between Arkansas and Louisiana, and soon Shreveport, the largest city on the river. Through the Louisiana Red River runs predominantly in a southeasterly direction.

Around 110 km north-east of Baton Rouge opens the Red River with an average water flow of 1590 m³ / s in the 270 km long Atchafalaya River, the longest tributary of the Mississippi River with a mean discharge of 4730 m³ / s If thus the Red River hydrologically part of the catchment area of ​​the Mississippi, he is still sometimes cited as an independent power.


The name Red River is derived from the red clay particles that originate from ancient sedimentary rocks of its catchment area and are in the water of the river in suspension.

The river was dammed among others by the 1943 built about 113 kilometers north of Dallas Denison Dam to mentioned, 360 km ² Texoma Reservoir. Below this Absperrbauwerks the Red River is navigable. Other reservoirs for flood protection are located on its tributaries, such as Lake Kemp in the Big Wichita River in Baylor County, Texas.

He was for a time the border river after the Adams - Onís Treaty between Mexico and the United States.

See also: Chisholm Trail