No wonder they call it, “The Mighty Mississippi.” The Mississippi River is America’s largest river by far. It’s about 2,320 miles long. It passes by 10 states. And, water from 31 states drains into it.

It is also one of the world’s most important commercial (business) waterways in the world and one of North America’s great migration routes for both birds and fish.

The Mississippi River begins at Lake Itasca, a small lake in Minnesota. From there, the river gathers more and more water as it flows south toward the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, big rivers, small rivers, and streams flow into the Mississippi, adding more and more water. By the time all that water reaches New Orleans, Louisiana, over 4 millions gallons are flowing past the city every second! That’s why the Mississippi is America’s mightiest river.

About the Mississippi River

Fun Fact: The name Mississippi comes from the Ojibway Indian tribe. Mississippi means “big river” in their language.

Fun Fact: 10 states border the Mississippi River. They are: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Fun Fact: The Mississippi River flows through several major cities, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans.

Fun Fact: A single drop of water takes about 90 days to flow from Lake Itasca, where the Mississippi River begins, to the Gulf of Mexico, where the river ends.

Fun Fact: The famous American author Mark Twain (1835-1910) was a Mississippi riverboat pilot before he became a writer.

Fun Fact: The mighty Mississippi River is the biggest river in America, but it’s not the longest. The longest river in the U. S. is the Missouri River, which is about 20 miles longer than the Mississippi.

Fun Fact: The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The scenic route passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns.

Fun Fact: At its widest point, the Mississippi River is about 7 miles wide.

Fun Fact: At its deepest point, the Mississippi River is about 200 feet deep.

Fun Fact: More than 170 bridges (automobile, foot, and railroad) span the Mississippi River. The first bridge that crossed the river was built in 1855. The first railroad bridge was completed a year later in 1856.

Fun Fact: It takes about three months (90 days) for water that leaves Lake Itasca, the river’s source, to reach the Gulf of Mexico. For most of that journey, the water in the Mississippi River is traveling about as fast as an average person usually walks.