Platte River facts for kids

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Platte River
Platte River.jpg
Platte River at Mahoney State Park
Platterivermap.png
Map showing the Platte River watershed, including the North Platte and South Platte tributaries
Other name(s) Nebraska River, Shallow River, Ñíbraxge (iow), Pȟaŋkéska Wakpá (lkt), Ní Btháska (oma), Kíckatus (paw)
Country United States
State Nebraska
Region Great Plains
Cities North Platte, Kearney, Grand Island, Fremont, Omaha
Physical characteristics
Main source North Platte River
Confluence of Grizzly Creek and Little Grizzly Creek, Jackson County, Colorado
8,050 ft (2,450 m)
2nd source South Platte River
Confluence of Middle Fork and South Fork South Platte Rivers, Park County, Colorado
8,785 ft (2,678 m)
River mouth Missouri River
Cass / Sarpy counties, at Plattsmouth, Nebraska
942 ft (287 m)
Length 310 mi (500 km), West-east
Discharge
  • Location:
    Louisville, 10 miles (16 km) above the mouth
  • Minimum rate:
    131 cu ft/s (3.7 m3/s)
  • Average rate:
    7,037 cu ft/s (199.3 m3/s)
  • Maximum rate:
    160,000 cu ft/s (4,500 m3/s)
Basin features
River system Missouri River basin
Basin size 84,910 sq mi (219,900 km2)
Tributaries
  • Left:
    North Platte River, Loup River, Elkhorn River
  • Right:
    South Platte River

The Platte River /plæt/ is a major river in the state of Nebraska and is about 310 mi (500 km) long. Measured to its farthest source via its tributary the North Platte River, it flows for over 1,050 miles (1,690 km). The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Platte over most of its length is a muddy, broad, shallow, meandering stream with a swampy bottom and many islands—a braided stream. These characteristics made it too difficult for canoe travel, and it was never used as a major navigation route by European-American trappers or explorers.

The Platte is one of the most significant tributary systems in the watershed of the Missouri, draining a large portion of the central Great Plains in Nebraska and the eastern Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming. The river valley played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California, Mormon and Bozeman trails. The first Europeans to see the Platte were French explorers and fur trappers about 1714; they first called it the Nebraskier (Nebraska), a transliteration of the name given by the Otoe people, meaning "flat water". This expression is very close to the French words "rivière plate" ("flat river"), the probable origin of the name Platte River.

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Platte River Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.