National Rivers

Alagnak Wild and Scenic River – Alaska

The Alagnak River, and its tributary the Nonvianuk, were the first river in the country to receive the wild and scenic designation in 1980. The river runs from Katmai National Park and Preserve to Bristol Bay. It is one of the most popular fishing destinations in Alaska. It is home to strong runs of all five Pacific salmon species.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area – Kentucky, Tennessee

The park protects 125,000 acres surrounding the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries in northeastern Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky. The park contains scenic gorges, sandstone bluffs, and one of the highest concentrations of natural bridges in the eastern United States.

Bluestone National Scenic River – West Virginia

A 10.5 mile section of the Bluestone River through the southern Appalachians is protected in Southern West Virginia. Hiking and fishing are popular ways to enjoy the river as it cuts its way through a rugged gorge in Summers and Mercer counties. The Bluestone Turnpike Trail runs the length of the park.

Buffalo National River – Arkansas

The Buffalo River in northern Arkansas was named the first national river in 1972. It is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. The park is composed of the lower 135 miles of the river, which originates in the Ozarks as part of the Ozark National Forest. The river is popular for camping, fishing and canoeing.

Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River – New Jersey

The Great Egg Harbor River is the largest canoeing river in the Pine Barrens as well one of the top spots in the country for birdwatching. In 1992, Congress authorized the designation of 129 miles of the river as wild and scenic.

Middle Delaware National Scenic River – New Jersey, Pennsylvania

The Middle Delaware National Scenic River is a 40 mile stretch of the Delaware River wholly located within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area – Minnesota

MNRRA is a 72 mile section of the Mississippi River including the portion that flows through Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is a partnership park, where the National Park System is not a major owner of the land but works with land owners to protect and preserve the river for future generations.

Missouri National Recreational River – Nebraska, South Dakota

The designation protects 100 miles of the nation’s longest river, the Missouri River, on the border between Nebraska and South Dakota. The two protected stretches are the only undammed or unchannelized portions of the river.

New River Gorge National River – West Virginia

The New River is one of the oldest rivers in the United States. The protected area covers 53 miles in southern West Virginia, which is popular for whitewater rafting, rock climbing and fishing.

Niobrara National Scenic River – Nebraska

The Niobrara National Scenic River protects 76 miles of the river in north-central Nebraska, about 300 miles northwest of Omaha. The Niobrara River is a popular river to float by raft, kayak, canoe or tube.

Obed Wild and Scenic River – Tennessee

The National Park Service called Obed WSR along the Cumberland Plateau one of the best kept secrets in the park system. Rock climbing and whitewater rafting are particularly popular.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways – Missouri

The national scenic riverway designation protects 80,000 acres in Southern Missouri surrounding the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. Canoeing is a popular activity as the Current River is one of the midwest’s best float streams. Missouri’s long distance hiking trail, Ozark Trail, traverses the scenic riverway.

Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River – Texas

A 196 mile section of the Rio Grande in Texas was designated a wild and scenic river in 1978. The upper 69 miles of the designated river is located within Big Bend National Park. The canyons of the Rio Grande river are a popular place for float trips down the river.

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway – Wisconsin, Minnesota

The St. Croix and Namekagon rivers offers over 250 miles of adventure through eastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. It is the largest scenic riverway east of the Mississippi. Boating, camping and fishing for smallmouth bass are all popular.

Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River – New York, Pennsylvania

The designation protects 73.4 miles of the Delaware River, the last major undammed river in the eastern United States, and a popular spot in the northeastern United States for fishing and canoeing.