Map of some major California rivers and lakes

This is a list of rivers in the U.S. state of California, grouped by region. Major lakes and reservoirs, if applicable, are indicated in italics.

North Coast (north of Humboldt Bay)

Rivers and streams between the Oregon border and Humboldt Bay that empty into the Pacific Ocean (arranged north to south; tributaries with those entering nearest the sea first). Bold indicates rivers with more detailed lists in following sections.

Smith River

Smith River drainage basin
  • Smith River
    • Rowdy Creek
    • Mill Creek
    • Myrtle Creek
    • South Fork Smith River
      • Craigs Creek
      • Coon Creek
      • Rock Creek
      • Gordon Creek
      • Goose Creek
      • Hurdygurdy Creek
      • Jones Creek
      • Buck Creek
      • Quartz Creek
      • Eightmile Creek
      • Harrington Creek
      • Prescott Fork Smith River
    • Middle Fork Smith River
      • Patrick Creek
      • Little Jones Creek
      • Monkey Creek
      • Siskiyou Fork Smith River
      • Griffin Creek
      • Knopki Creek
    • North Fork Smith River
      • Stony Creek
      • Still Creek
      • Diamond Creek

Klamath River

Klamath River drainage basin
  • Klamath River
    • Hunter Creek
    • Turwar Creek
    • Blue Creek
      • West Fork Blue Creek
      • Nikowitz Creek
      • Crescent City Fork Blue Creek
      • East Fork Blue Creek
    • Ah Pah Creek
    • Tectah Creek
    • Pecwan Creek
    • Mettah Creek
    • Roach Creek
    • Tully Creek
    • Pine Creek
    • Trinity River (jump to tributaries)
    • Hopkins Creek
    • Copper Creek
      • Indian Creek
    • Bluff Creek
      • Fish Creek
      • East Fork Bluff Creek
      • Notice Creek
      • North Fork Bluff Creek
    • Slate Creek
    • Red Cap Creek
      • North Fork Red Cap Creek
      • Middle Fork Red Cap Creek
    • Boise Creek
    • Camp Creek
    • Pearch Creek
    • Salmon River (jump to tributaries)
    • Rogers Creek
    • Irving Creek
    • Rock Creek
    • Swillup Creek
    • Ukonom Creek
      • McCash Fork
    • King Creek
    • Independence Creek
    • Clear Creek
      • South Fork Clear Creek
      • Fivemile Creek
      • Tenmile Creek
      • Bear Valley Creek
      • Red Hill Creek
      • West Fork Clear Creek
      • Doe Creek
    • Oak Flat Creek
    • Elk Creek
      • East Fork Elk Creek
      • Doolittle Creek
      • Bear Creek
      • Granite Creek
        • Burney Valley Creek
      • Toms Valley Creek
      • Rainy Valley Creek
    • Indian Creek
      • Doolittle Creek
      • East Fork Indian Creek
      • South Fork Indian Creek
        • Twin Valley Fork Indian Creek
      • Mill Creek
      • Granite Creek
      • Green Creek
    • China Creek
    • Thompson Creek
    • Fort Goff Creek
    • Portuguese Creek
    • Seiad Creek
    • Grider Creek
    • Walker Creek
    • Scott River
      • Mill Creek
      • Kelsey Creek
      • Shackleford Creek
      • Indian Creek
      • Moffett Creek
      • Kidder Creek
      • Etna Creek
      • Sugar Creek
      • East Fork Scott River
      • South Fork Scott River
    • Shasta River
    • Cottonwood Creek
    • Bogus Creek
    • Jenny Creek
    • Butte Creek (joins the Klamath in Oregon)
    • Lost River (joins the Klamath in Oregon)
      • Rock Creek
      • Willow Creek
      • Mowitz Creek

Trinity River

Trinity River drainage basin
  • Trinity River
    • Mill Creek
    • Tish Tang o Tang Creek
    • Horse Linto Creek
    • Willow Creek
    • South Fork Trinity River
      • Madden Creek
      • Grouse Creek
        • Mosquito Creek
      • Buckeye Creek
      • Hayfork Creek
        • Corral Creek
        • Salt Creek
        • Big Creek
        • Carr Creek
        • East Fork Hayfork Creek
      • Indian Valley Creek
        • Butter Creek
      • Plummer Creek
      • Rattlesnake Creek
      • Smoky Creek
      • Happy Camp Creek
      • East Fork South Fork Trinity River
        • Prospect Creek
      • Shell Mountain Creek
    • Sharber Creek
    • Quinby Creek
    • Hawkins Creek
    • New River
      • Bell Creek
      • Big Creek
      • China Creek
      • Panther Creek
      • Quinby Creek
      • Devils Canyon Creek
      • East Fork New River
      • Slide Creek
      • Virgin Creek
    • Canadian Creek
    • Big French Creek
    • Little French Creek
    • Price Creek
    • Manzanita Creek
    • Big Bar Creek
    • Sailor Bar Creek
    • North Fork Trinity River
      • East Fork North Fork Trinity River
      • Backbone Creek
      • Whites Creek
      • China Creek
      • Rattlesnake Creek
      • Gas Creek
      • Grizzly Creek
    • Canyon Creek
      • Big East Fork Canyon Creek
      • Little East Fork Canyon Creek
    • Oregon Gulch
    • Soldier Creek
    • Dutch Creek
    • Browns Creek
      • Little Creek
    • Reading Creek
    • Weaver Creek
      • Little Browns Creek
      • East Weaver Creek
      • West Weaver Creek
    • Indian Creek
    • Grass Valley Creek
      • Little Grass Valley Creek
    • Rush Creek
    • Deadwood Creek
    • Papoose Creek
    • Stuart Fork
      • Hobel Creek
      • Mule Creek
      • Stoney Creek
      • Owens Creek
      • Deep Creek
      • Boulder Creek
      • Deer Creek
    • Swift Creek
      • Granite Creek
    • East Fork Trinity River
      • Cedar Creek
      • Mumbo Creek
      • Crow Creek
      • Baker Creek
    • Coffee Creek
      • Little Boulder Creek
      • Boulder Creek
      • Sugar Pine Creek
      • East Fork Coffee Creek
      • North Fork Coffee Creek
      • Union Creek
      • South Fork Coffee Creek
    • Scorpion Creek
    • Eagle Creek
    • Ramshorn Creek
    • Bear Creek
    • Tangle Blue Creek
    • Scott Mountain Creek
    • Little Trinity River
    • Sherer Creek
    • Picayune Creek
    • Cedar Creek
    • Bear Creek
    • High Camp Creek

Salmon River

  • Salmon River
    • Merrill Creek
    • Somes Creek
    • Wooley Creek
      • Steinacher Creek
      • Bridge Creek
      • Rock Creek
      • Hancock Creek
      • North Fork Wooley Creek
        • Cuddihy Fork
      • Hell Hole Creek
      • Big Meadows Creek
      • South Fork Wooley Creek
      • Big Elk Fork
    • Butler Creek
    • Morehouse Creek
    • Nordheimer Creek
    • Crapo Creek
    • North Fork Salmon River
      • Little North Fork Salmon River
      • Russian Creek
      • Right Hand Fork North Fork Salmon River
    • South Fork Salmon River
      • Knownothing Creek
      • Methodist Creek
      • Black Bear Creek
      • Plummer Creek
      • St Claire Creek
      • Crawford Creek
      • Cecil Creek
      • East Fork South Fork Salmon River
        • Taylor Creek
      • Rush Creek
      • Little South Fork Salmon River

Redwood Creek

  • Redwood Creek (Humboldt County)
    • Prairie Creek (California)
      • Lost Man Creek
    • McArthur Creek
    • Tom McDonald Creek
    • Bridge Creek
    • Copper Creek
    • Devils Creek
    • Coyote Creek
    • Panther Creek
    • Garrett Creek
    • Lacks Creek
    • Minor Creek
    • Lupton Creek
    • Noisy Creek
    • High Prairie Creek
    • Minon Creek
    • Lake Prairie Creek
    • Bradford Creek
    • Pardee Creek
    • Twin Lakes Creek

Mad River

  • Mad River
    • Lindsay Creek
    • North Fork Mad River
    • Canon Creek
    • Maple Creek
    • Boulder Creek
    • Black Creek
    • Pilot Creek

Humboldt Bay

Primary streams entering Humboldt Bay are listed north to south beginning north of the entrance to the bay and continuing in a clockwise direction. Tributaries entering nearest the bay are listed first.[1][2]

For additional detail on Humboldt Bay streams, see Humboldt Bay: Bay tributaries and sloughs.

North Coast (south of Humboldt Bay)

Eel River watershed map

Rivers and streams between Humboldt Bay and the Golden Gate that empty into the Pacific Ocean (arranged north to south; tributaries with those entering nearest the sea first):

For details of the Sonoma and Marin coasts, see List of watercourses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Francisco Bay

Streams that empty into San Francisco Bay or its tributary bays (arranged clockwise, starting at the north side of the Golden Gate; tributaries are listed from those entering nearest the bays to farthest). The Central Valley watershed feeding into Suisun Bay via the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta is excluded; see the following section for the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems.

For additional detail on Bay Area creeks, see List of watercourses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Pablo Bay (north of Carquinez Strait)

Suisun Bay

San Pablo Bay (south of Carquinez Strait) and San Francisco Bay

For additional detail on Bay Area creeks, see List of watercourses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta

The Sacramento and San Joaquin River systems drain the western slope of the Sierra Nevada and most of the Central Valley, forming the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta before emptying into Suisun Bay; together, they are the largest river system in California.

Sacramento River

Map of Sacramento River
Sacramento River near the mouth
Cache Creek, in the Coast Ranges

Yolo Bypass

Yolo Bypass location

American River

American River drainage basin

Feather River

Feather River drainage basin
Headwaters of the Feather River
Yuba River
Yuba River drainage basin

Pit River

Pit River drainage basin

San Joaquin River

San Joaquin River map
The San Joaquin River

Mokelumne River

Mokelumne River drainage basin

Note: In the Delta the Mokelumne River divides into two short branches, also called the "North Fork" and "South Fork", which recombine before reaching the San Joaquin River.

Calaveras River

  • Calaveras River
    • New Hogan Dam, New Hogan Lake
    • North Fork Calaveras River
      • Murray Creek
      • Jesus Maria Creek
      • Esperanza Creek
    • South Fork Calaveras River
      • Calaveritas Creek
      • San Antonio Creek
      • San Domingo Creek
      • Cherokee Creek

Stanislaus River

Stanislaus River drainage basin

Tuolumne River

Tuolumne River drainage basin

Merced River

Merced River drainage basin
The Merced River in Yosemite Valley

Tulare Basin

Map of the Tulare Lake Basin

Usually an endorheic basin, waters in this region all eventually would reach Tulare Lake. This region would overflow into the San Joaquin River during flood years when Tulare Lake overflowed. Streams are listed clockwise around the Tulare Basin, starting at the Kings River:

  • Kings River (jump to tributaries)
  • Sand Creek
  • Cross Creek
  • Lewis Creek
  • Tule River (jump to tributaries)
  • Deer Creek
    • Pothole Creek
    • Gordon Creek
    • Tyler Creek
  • White River
    • Coarse Gold Creek
    • Arrastre Creek
    • Chalaney Creek
  • Rag Gulch
    • Five Dog Creek
    • Willow Springs Creek
  • Deer Creek
  • Poso Creek
    • Little Creek
    • Rattlesnake Creek
    • Little Poso Creek
    • Cedar Creek
      • Lumreau Creek
    • Von Hellum Creek
    • Spear Creek
  • Kern River (jump to tributaries)
  • Caliente Creek
    • Walker Basin Creek
      • Rancheria Creek
    • Tehachapi Creek
    • Indian Creek
  • Tejon Creek
  • El Paso Creek
  • Pastoria Creek
  • Grapevine Creek
  • Tecuya Creek
  • Salt Creek
  • Pleito Creek
  • San Emigdio Creek
  • Los Lobos Creek
  • Santiago Creek
  • Bitter Creek
  • Bitterwater Creek
  • Sandy Creek
  • Buena Vista Creek
  • Salt Creek
  • Chico Creek
  • Santos Creek
  • Media Agua Creek
  • Bitterwater Creek
  • Avenal Creek
  • Baby King Creek
  • Canoas Creek
  • Los Gatos Creek
    • Zapato Chino Creek

Kings River

Kings River drainage basin

Kaweah River

Kaweah River drainage basin
Kaweah River in the foothills of the Sierra

Tule River

Kern River

Location of the Kern River

Central Coast

Rivers that empty into the Pacific Ocean between the Golden Gate and Point Arguello, arranged in order from north to south.

For details of the San Mateo coast, see List of watercourses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pajaro River

Salinas River

Salinas River drainage basin

Santa Maria River

Santa Maria River drainage basin

Santa Ynez River

Santa Ynez River drainage basin

South Coast

Rivers that empty into the Pacific Ocean southeast of Point Arguello, arranged from north to south:

Point Arguello to Santa Monica

Santa Clara River

Santa Clara River drainage basin
  • Santa Clara River
    • Santa Paula Creek
      • Sisar Creek
    • Boulder Creek
    • Sespe Creek
      • Little Sespe Creek
      • Tar Creek
      • West Fork Sespe Creek
      • Alder Creek
      • Park Creek
      • Timber Creek
      • Trout Creek
      • Piedra Blanca Creek
      • Rose Valley Creek
      • Rock Creek
      • Potrero John Creek
      • Munson Creek
      • Cherry Creek
      • Adobe Creek
      • Abadi Creek
    • Hopper Canyon Creek
    • Piru Creek
      • Santa Felicia Dam, Lake Piru
      • Devil Canyon
      • Canton Canyon
      • Agua Blanca Creek
      • Fish Creek
      • Pyramid Dam, Pyramid Lake
      • Gorman Creek
      • Buck Creek
      • Snowy Creek
      • Smith Fork
      • Dry Creek
      • Lockwood Creek
      • Mutau Creek
        • Alamo Creek
        • Little Mutau Creek
      • Sheep Creek
      • Cedar Creek
    • Castaic Creek
    • Bouquet Canyon
    • South Fork Santa Clara River
      • Placerita Creek
      • Newhall Creek
    • Mint Canyon
    • Agua Dulce Canyon
    • Mill Canyon
    • Acton Canyon
    • Aliso Canyon
    • Kentucky Springs Canyon

Ventura River

Santa Monica to San Clemente

Los Angeles River

San Gabriel River

Santa Ana River

San Clemente to Mexican border

Santa Margarita River

San Luis Rey River

San Dieguito River

San Diego River

San Diego Bay

Tributaries entering San Diego Bay are arranged from North to South:

Gulf of California

Rivers that empty into the Gulf of California:

Carrizo Plain

The Carrizo Plain is a large enclosed valley near the Central Coast which drains into Soda Lake.

  • Wallace Creek

Salton Sea

Rivers that empty into the Salton Sea:

Great Basin

Rivers in the Great Basin, arranged roughly north to south:

Tule Lake

Honey Lake

Honey Lake drainage basin
  • Susan River
    • Willow Creek
      • Petes Creek
      • Balls Canyon
        • Snowstorm Creek
        • Secret Creek
    • Piute Creek
    • Willard Creek
  • Skedaddle Creek
  • Long Valley Creek
    • Dry Valley Creek
  • Baxter Creek

Pyramid Lake (in Nevada)

Pyramid Lake drainage basin

Carson Sink (in Nevada)

Carson Sink drainage basin

Walker Lake (in Nevada)

Mono Lake

Rivers draining into saline and endorheic Mono Lake in eastern California, from north and proceeding counterclockwise:

Owens Lake

Owens Lake drainage basin

Death Valley

Streams terminating in the Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park.

  • Salt Creek
    • Furnace Creek Wash
    • Emigrant Wash
    • Death Valley Wash
  • Amargosa River
    • Wingate Wash
    • Salt Creek (may carry overflow from the Mojave River basin in extremely wet years)
    • Rock Valley Wash
    • Fortymile Wash

Antelope Valley-Fremont Valley watersheds

Streams terminating in various dry lakes in the Antelope Valley and Fremont Valley (Koehn Lake, Rosamond Lake, Rogers Dry Lake and others), draining from the southeastern Tehachapi Mountains and northern San Gabriel Mountains, listed counterclockwise starting from north:

  • Cottonwood Creek
  • Cache Creek
    • Sand Creek
  • Oak Creek
  • Cottonwood Creek
  • Pescado Creek
  • Los Alamos Creek
  • Amargosa Creek
    • Pine Creek
  • Anaverde Creek
  • Little Rock Creek
    • South Fork Little Rock Creek
  • Big Rock Creek
    • Pallett Creek
    • Sandrock Creek
    • South Fork Big Rock Creek
  • Mescal Creek
  • Le Montaine Creek

Soda Lake (Mojave River drainage)

Mojave River drainage basin

See also


  1. ^ Klamath Resource Information System (KRIS), KRIS Humboldt Bay, URL retrieved November 11, 2007
  2. ^ Humboldt Bay Harbor District, Wetlands, Streams, Riparian Areas, and Watershed Areas, URL retrieved November 12, 2007 Archived November 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External links