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Cheyenne River

Map of the course and watershed of the Cheyenne River.

The Cheyenne River (Lakota: Wakpá Wašté; "Good River"[1]), also written Chyone,[2] referring to the Cheyenne people who once lived there, is a tributary of the Missouri River in the U.S. states of Wyoming and South Dakota. It is approximately 295 mi (475 km) long and drains an area of 24,240 square miles (62,800 km2).[3] About 60% of the drainage basin is in South Dakota and the remainder in Wyoming.[4]

Formed by the confluence of Antelope Creek and Dry Fork Creek in Wyoming, it rises in northeastern Wyoming in the Thunder Basin National Grassland in Converse County. It flows east into South Dakota, passes Edgemont, and skirts the southern end of the Black Hills, passing through Angostura Reservoir.

A view of the river looking north from Interstate-90 near Wasta, South Dakota.

On the east side of the Black Hills, it flows northeast, past Oral, the Buffalo Gap National Grassland and along the northwestern boundary of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Badlands National Park. It is joined by Rapid Creek, passes Wasta and is joined by the Belle Fourche River in eastern Meade County, after which it flows ENE along the southern boundary of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. Near the town of Cherry Creek, it is joined by Cherry Creek and flows into the Missouri at Lake Oahe, approximately 32 mi (50 km) NNW of Pierre, South Dakota, with the lower 35 mi (56 km) of the river forming an arm of Lake Oahe.

The Belle Fourche River is the largest tributary of the Cheyenne. Rapid, Sulphur, Plum, Cherry, and Owl Creeks are important other tributaries of the Belle Fourche-Cheyenne. Snowmelt from the Black Hills provides the major source of river water. Because of the proximity to the Black Hills and its mining industry, the Cheyenne historically picked up large quantities of zinc, arsenic, and cyanide. Those pollutants are no longer a major threat due to water quality regulations. The Cheyenne River is still higher in dissolved mineral content than any other South Dakota major river.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Ullrich, Jan, ed. (2011). New Lakota Dictionary (2nd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Lakota Language Consortium. pp. 607, 626, 883.  
  2. ^ Marshall, Thomas Maitland, ed. (1923). The life and papers of Frederick Bates. St Louis MO: Missouri Historical Society.  vol 1, p 203 - 1807 Hunting Licenses Granted July 6 Primo and Bessonett On the Chyone
  3. ^ Cheyenne River Phase I TMDL Assessment
  4. ^ a b Hogan, Edward Patrick; Fouberg, Erin Hogan (2001). The Geography of South Dakota (Third ed.). Sioux Falls, SD: The Center for Western Studies –  

External links

  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cheyenne River

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