Roe River – Great Falls, Montana - Atlas Obscura

Roe River

The shortest river in America flows for just 201 feet. 


The Roe River near Great Falls, Montana, is a mere 201 feet long—that’s about twice as long as the distance between first and second base on a baseball diamond. Flowing continuously from its headwaters in Giant Springs to the mouth at the Missouri River, the Roe has the distinction of being the shortest river in North America.

In fact, the Roe River is often called the shortest river in the world and was actually awarded that Guinness World Record in 1987 after some petitioning by a group of local elementary students. (As a sign on the riverbank explains, it was also given the name “Roe” at the time, meaning fish eggs, for its proximity to the State Fish Hatchery.)

The title was challenged several times before Guinness discontinued the category, however, and by many measurements there are shorter rivers elsewhere in the world, including the Tamborasi River in Indonesia and the Kovasselva River in Norway, which both come in at just 65.6 feet long. The Roe River can boast being the shortest in the United States, though, rivaled only by the D River in Oregon.

Not only is the Roe a notable record holder, it is probably one of the more beautiful places to visit in Great Falls.  Nearby there is the fish hatchery, a park, a playground, a walking trail, and multiple places to hike and fish.

Know Before You Go

Giant Springs is a Montana State Park and is only open during daylight hours.

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May 2, 2018

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