Little Kanawha River

Little Kanawha River


The Little Kanawha River is a tributary of the Ohio River, 169 mi (269 km) long, in western West Virginia in the United States. Via the Ohio, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River, draining an area of 2,320 mi² (6,009 km²) on the unglaciated portion of the Allegheny Plateau. It served as an important commercial water route in the early history of West Virginia, particularly in the logging and petroleum industries.


The Little Kanawha rises in southern Upshur County, approximately 20 mi (32 km) south of Buckhannon. It follows a meandering course generally west-northwestwardly, through Lewis, Braxton, Gilmer, Calhoun, Wirt and Wood Counties, past the towns of Burnsville, Sand Fork, Glenville, Grantsville, Palestine and Elizabeth, to its mouth at the Ohio River in Parkersburg.

About 3 mi (5 km) upstream of Burnsville, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam causes the river to form Burnsville Lake, which was completed in 1976 at a cost of $56.2 million.


The Little Kanawha's largest tributary is the Hughes River, which flows into it near the Wirt County community of Newark, approximately 12 mi (19 km) southeast of Parkersburg. Other tributaries include the headwaters stream Right Fork Little Kanawha River, which flows along the boundaries of Upshur, Lewis and Webster Counties.; and the West Fork Little Kanawha River, which rises in southern Calhoun County and flows northwestwardly along the boundary of Roane County to the Wirt County community of Creston. Additionally, a minor tributary near Grantsville is known as the Bull River; despite being named as a "river," it is no larger than dozens of other small streams that flow into the Little Kanawha.

Variant names

According to the Geographic Names Information System, the Little Kanawha River has also been known as:

  • Fishing Creek
  • Little Canawha River
  • Little Canhawa River
  • Little Conaway River
  • Little Cunnaway River
  • Little Kanahaway River
  • Little Kanahwa River
  • Little Kanahway River
  • Little Kanawah River
  • Little Kanhaway River
  • Little Kanhawey River
  • Little Kawahwa River
  • Little Kenawah
  • Little Kenhawa
  • Little Kenhaway
  • Little Kennaway River
  • Nau-mis-sip-pia
  • Newmissipi
  • O-mom-go-how-ce-pe
  • O-nim-go-how
  • See also

    External links


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