8 of the World’s Shortest Rivers

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The world’s most well-known rivers are famous for a reason. The Amazon, Mekong, Mississippi, and Nile, and other iconic waterways meander for thousands of miles — their waters serve as important trade routes through bustling cities, provide habitats for wildlife, and aid in the cultivation of crops by irrigating the surrounding land. But not all rivers are mighty. Some are so short that it’s possible to stroll from one end to the other in a matter of minutes. A river is simply a natural stream of water with well-defined banks that flows in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another river. Here are eight examples around the world that fit that definition — and prove that size isn’t everything.8

Rio Correntoso, Argentina (656 feet)

Correntoso river with wood bridge in Villa la Angostura, Neuquén, Argentina.
Credit: Manuel Ochoa/ Shutterstock

Tucked into the pristine and majestic Patagonian landscapes of Argentina’s Lake District region is the Correntoso River. This short waterway flows for approximately 656 feet between Correntoso Lake and Nahuel Huapi Lake. Its length is susceptible to change due to varying annual rainfall and the height of the lakes it connects. In addition to being one of the shortest rivers in South America, Rio Correntoso is a popular tourist attraction and fishing destination. A wooden footbridge affords views of crystalline waters, basaltic rocks, and the peaks of the Cerro Belvedere and Cerro Incayal mountains. Anglers flock to the river mouth to fish for brook, brown, and rainbow trout.7

Aril River, Italy (574 feet)

Idyllic view at Cassone di Malcesine, beautiful village on Lake Garda.
Credit: Stefano_Valeri/ Shutterstock

Known locally as the Ri, the 574-foot-long Aril River flows peacefully through the pretty lakeside town of Cassone. From its source in the town center, the river passes beneath three bridges and over a waterfall before emptying out into Lake Garda. Pastel-hued townhouses stand on the riverbanks and reflect elegantly in the clean water. At Christmastime, a floating nativity scene adds even more appeal. The Aril River also serves as a source of potable water for the town and an important ecosystem — trout swim upriver from Lake Garda to spawn.6

Roe River, Montana (201 feet)

Canada Geese at Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls, Montana.
Credit: Nikki Yancey/ Shutterstock

Fed by the aptly named springs inside the Giant Springs State Park, the Roe River runs for just 201 feet near Great Falls, Montana. The waterway was the last holder of the Guinness World Records award for the world’s shortest river, before the category was discontinued after several challenges to the title. Amusingly, the Roe River flows into the Missouri River, which is the country’s longest river. Explorers Lewis and Clark made one of the earliest recorded sightings of the river in 1805. The Roe River takes its name from the term roe, or fish eggs, and visitors can learn about fish growth at the Giant Springs Fish Hatchery. There are also picnic sites and walking trails nearby.5

Rio Los Patos, Dominican Republic (200 feet)

View from Los Patos, Barahora, Dominican Republic.
Credit: Tpena/ Shutterstock

At just 200 feet in length (depending on the tide), the Rio Los Patos is the shortest river in the Antilles region. The river runs from the Paraíso Mountains through lush tropical rainforest and into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean at Los Patos Beach. Despite its short length, the two ends of Rio Los Patos present contrasting environments: Waves crash onto the sandy shore at the river mouth, while close to the source, the crystal-clear waters create natural ponds teeming with colorful fish species.4

Jezernica River, Slovenia (180 feet)

A round small lake called Divje jezero in Slovenia.
Credit: Anze Furlan/ Shutterstock

The Jezernica River is the shortest of the 59 rivers that flow through Slovenia. It emerges at Wild Lake (Divje Jezero), in the western region of the country, and travels for only 180 feet to the Idrijca River. The source of this little river is one of Slovenia’s most fascinating natural landmarks. Wild Lake is a karst lake that features a beguiling emerald green water surface. After periods of heavy rainfall, water flows from an underground tunnel at speeds of 2,100 cubic feet per second and creates a bubbling effect. Divers have explored the lake to depths of 558 feet and discovered a labyrinthine underwater cave system. Visitors can walk around a trail along the water’s edge and admire the surrounding tall cliffs and alpine flora.3

D River, Oregon (120 feet)

The D River, shortest in the world, flowing into the Pacific Ocean.
Credit: Jess Kraft/ Shutterstock

The D River flows for just 120 feet through the Lincoln City, a small city on Oregon’s central coast, beginning at Devil’s Lake and continuing to the Pacific Ocean. The river once held the Guinness World Record for the world’s shortest river before Montana’s Roe River controversially took the award in the late 1980s. Despite not holding onto coveted Guinness recognition, the D River does lay claim to one of the world’s shortest names for a geographical term. Today, the river is part of the D River State Recreation Site, which hosts popular annual kite festivals.2

Ombla River, Croatia (98 feet)

Boat on Ombla river near Rozat, Croatia.
Credit: Pshenichka/ Shutterstock

Northeast of Croatia’s famous walled city of Dubrovnik is the 98-feet-long Ombla River, which emerges from a cave inside a huge massif. The Ombla may be short, but its drainage basin is an impressive 230 square miles. It flows from the massif and then over a weir, or low dam, into Rijeka Dubrovačka, an embayment formed by the Adriatic Sea. Its drainage basin includes groundwater used to supply drinking water to the residents of Dubrovnik. The source of the river, Vilina Špilja (or Fairy Cave), is one of the largest and most biologically diverse caves in the Dinaric Alps region.1

Tamborasi River, Indonesia (66 feet)

Tamborasi beach Kolaka.
Credit: KAISARMUDA/ Shutterstock

Southeast Asia’s shortest river winds through a tropical coastal paradise on the southeastern peninsula of Indonesia’s Sulawesi island. Rising from springs set amid nearby hills, the 66-foot-long Tamborasi River flows into the Flores Sea. With a width of 49 feet, the river is almost as wide as it is long. Surrounded by forest-clad cliffs and glistening golden sands, the turquoise-green river is resplendent. It’s a popular spot for bathers to experience the contrast between the river’s cool freshwater and the beach’s balmy saltwater at the Flores Sea. The area also happens to be shrouded in urban legend: It’s said that those who can tie a knot around a tree root in the riverbed will be bestowed with a long-lasting relationship.

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