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The Arikaree River

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Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Matt Bauer, a vice president at the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, uses magnets to attach a large geologic map of the United States to a car lnear where Bauer has identified the lowest point in Colorado. It’s in Yuma County, at the Kansas line on the Arikaree River. Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022.
Arikaree River

The Arikaree River runs out of NE Colorado into Kansas and cuts the state’s lowest elevation: 3,315 feet. It's the highest low spot of any state in the country – higher than the highest points of 18 of them. Flowing from the High Plains, the Arikaree River is named for the Arikara, native Americans whose oral history tells of a long journey crossing canyons, fording streams.

With hot summers, cold winters, and sudden outbursts of rain and snow, the High Plains serves up some of Colorado’s most severe weather and creates an environment unlike what’s downstream the Arikaree. In fact, scientists call it the state’s "best remaining example" of a Great Plains river system, with uncommon plants, amphibians, reptiles and fish, like the 3 inch long Orangethroat darter, at the very western edge of its comfort zone in the lowest spot of Colorado.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.