Ohio River Runs Through What States

Ohio River Runs Through What States

The Ohio River, one of the major rivers in the United States, flows through several states, serving as a vital waterway for transportation, recreation, and commerce. Spanning approximately 981 miles, the Ohio River winds its way through six states, each contributing to the river’s rich history and significance. In this article, we will explore the states that the Ohio River runs through, highlighting the importance of this majestic river and its impact on the region.

The Ohio River begins its journey in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it is formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. From there, it flows southwestward, acting as the boundary between Ohio and several other states. Let’s delve into the states that the Ohio River runs through:

1. Pennsylvania: The Ohio River forms part of the border between Pennsylvania and Ohio. It enters the state near the town of East Liverpool and flows along the western edge of Pennsylvania for approximately 44 miles before fully entering Ohio.

2. Ohio: Considered the most significant state along the Ohio River, Ohio is where the river derives its name. The river flows through or borders 13 counties in Ohio, including Jefferson, Belmont, Monroe, and Hamilton. The Ohio River serves as a crucial transportation route, connecting Ohio to the Mississippi River and enabling the movement of goods and people.

3. West Virginia: The Ohio River forms the entire northern border of West Virginia, stretching for approximately 232 miles. Several cities and towns along the river, such as Wheeling and Parkersburg, have historically relied on the river for industrial and commercial purposes.

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4. Kentucky: As the Ohio River meanders southward, it forms part of the border between West Virginia and Kentucky. The river is a defining feature of this state, with approximately 66 miles of its course flowing through Kentucky. Louisville, the largest city along the river, has prospered due to the river’s strategic location for commerce and transportation.

5. Indiana: The Ohio River separates Kentucky from Indiana, winding its way through the southwestern corner of the state. The river plays a significant role in the economy of Indiana, providing a vital transportation route for coal, petroleum, and other commodities.

6. Illinois: Finally, the Ohio River flows into the state of Illinois, marking the end of its journey. At this point, the river converges with the Mississippi River near the city of Cairo, forming a significant confluence. The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers together create a shipping channel that facilitates the movement of goods throughout the Midwest and beyond.


1. How long is the Ohio River?
The Ohio River stretches for approximately 981 miles, making it one of the longest rivers in the United States.

2. Can you swim in the Ohio River?
While it is possible to swim in the Ohio River, caution is advised due to its strong currents and occasional pollution. It is recommended to check local water quality advisories before swimming.

3. Are there recreational activities along the Ohio River?
Yes, the Ohio River offers various recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and camping. Many cities along its banks have parks and trails for visitors to enjoy.

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4. Are there any famous landmarks along the Ohio River?
Yes, several famous landmarks can be found along the Ohio River, including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Louisville Waterfront Park in Kentucky, and the Point State Park in Pittsburgh.

In conclusion, the Ohio River flows through six states, namely Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. This mighty river has played a crucial role in the development and prosperity of the region, serving as a vital transportation route and contributing to the economic and recreational activities along its banks. Whether you are interested in history, commerce, or enjoying outdoor activities, the Ohio River offers a multitude of opportunities to explore and appreciate its significance.