The Chagres River (Río Chagres) is a river in central Panama. The central part of the river is dammed by the Gatun Dam and forms Gatun Lake, an artificial lake that constitutes part of the Panama Canal. It drains northwest into the Caribbean Sea.
It was explored in 1527 by Hernando de la Serna, and founded the town of Chagres in its mouth, and the fortress of San Lorenzo was built. Goods were transported on foot in its bed from Panama City to the coastal town of Cruces and from there sailing on the river to its mouth. This road, called Camino de Cruces, was very popular until the eighteenth century. It was not until the late nineteenth century when once again the attention of the river was focused, but to use it as a support of the Panama Canal.
Its upper basin is covered by dense tropical forests and to protect it Panama created Chagres National Park in 1985.