Cumberland River

Cumberland River
Cumberland River

Canoers on the Cumberland River upstream from Cumberland Falls
Origin Small stream in Letcher County, KY near Flat Gap, VA
Mouth Ohio River at Livingston County, near Smithland, Kentucky
Basin countries United States
Length 688 miles (1,107 km)
Source elevation 1,155 ft (352 m)
Avg. discharge 30,441 ft³/s (862 m3/s
Basin area 18,081 mi² (46,830 km²)
Map of the Cumberland River Watershed
Barge traffic on the Cumberland River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains the river for tug-and-barge navigation.

The Cumberland River is a waterway in the Southern United States. It is 688 miles (1,107 km) long.[1] It starts in Harlan County in far southeastern Kentucky between Pine and Cumberland mountains, flows through southern Kentucky, crosses into northern Tennessee, and then curves back up into western Kentucky before draining into the Ohio River at Smithland, Kentucky. The city of Nashville, Tennessee sits along the banks of the Cumberland River.



The Cumberland River is a wild river above the headwaters of Lake Cumberland. Cumberland Falls, 68 feet (21 m) high, is one of the largest waterfalls in the eastern United States and is one of the few places in the Western Hemisphere where a moonbow can be seen.[citation needed]


During the early colonial period, the river was known as "Warioto" to the local Native Americans and as "Shauvanon" by French traders. It was also known as the "Shawnee" or "Shawonoe" before being known by its current name.[2]

Important first as a passage for hunters and settlers, the Cumberland River also supported later riverboat trade which reached to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Villages, towns and cities were located at landing points along its banks. Through the middle of the 19th century, settlers depended on rivers for trading and travel.

In 1748, Dr. Thomas Walker led a party of hunters across the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia, mapped and named the river.[citation needed]

Previous to Walker's trip, the Cumberland River had been called Wasioto by Native Americans and Rivere des Chaouanons, or "river of the Shawnee," by French traders. The river was also known as the Shawnee River (or Shawanoe River) for years after Walker's trip.[3]


In late April and early May 2010, due to extensive rains, the Cumberland River overflowed its banks and flooded Nashville and Clarksville. The downtown area was ordered to evacuate.[4]

See also

  • List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem)



  • Albright, Edward. "Early History of Middle Tennessee". (1908).
  • Stewart, George R. "Names on the Land". (Boston: 1967) (See George R. Stewart)
  • Arthur Benke & Colbert Cushing, "Rivers of North America". Elsevier Academic Press, 2005 ISBN 0-12-088253-1
  • Myers, Fred (2004) Cumberland River CruiseGuide, ISBN 0-9704962-3-0
  • Duthie, Bob & Mavis (2008) What to Expect Cruising the Cumberland River,CD-ROM [1]
  • Hay, Jerry (2010_ Cumberland River Guidebook, ISBN 978-1-4507-2458-6
  • Kohrs, Randy (2009 'Cumberland', Album, 'Quicksand' ASIN: B002N1AEI2)

Coordinates: 37°8′36″N 88°24′27″W / 37.14333°N 88.4075°W / 37.14333; -88.4075

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cumberland River — Cumberland (rivière) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cumberland. Cumberland ((en) Cumberland River) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cumberland River — Einzugsgebiet des Cumberland Rivers Daten Gewässerkennzahl …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cumberland River — Cumberland Cumberland, Cumberland River Cumberland Riverprop. n. a tributary of the Ohio River. Syn: . [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cumberland River —   [ kʌmbələnd rɪvə], linker Nebenfluss des Ohio, USA, 1 158 km lang; entspringt im Cumberlandplateau und mündet bei Smithland; mehrere Staudämme zur Hochwasserkontrolle und Energiegewinnung …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Cumberland River (Georgia) — Cumberland River Origin Georgia Basin countries United States The Cumberland River is a 15 mile long (24 km)[1] tidal channel in the U.S. state of Georgia. It forms the northern half of the waterway that separates Cumberla …   Wikipedia

  • Cumberland River (Victoria) — Cumberland River Basin countries Victoria, Australia The Cumberland River is a river in southwestern Victoria, Australia. It arises in the Otway Ranges and it enters Bass Strait to the east of Cape Otway and to the south of the town of Lorne. The …   Wikipedia

  • Cumberland River (St. Vincent) — Basin countries Saint Vincent and the Grenadines The Cumberland River is a river of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. See also List of rivers of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines References GEOnet Names Server …   Wikipedia

  • Cumberland River — River, Kentucky and Tennessee, U.S. It rises in southeastern Kentucky and flows west, looping through northern Tennessee before returning north to join the Ohio River after a course of 687 mi (1,106 km). It drops 92 ft (28 m) at Cumberland (or… …   Universalium

  • Cumberland River — river, Kentucky and Tennessee; flows to Ohio River …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • Cumberland River — noun a river that rises in southeastern Kentucky and flows westward through northern Tennessee to become a tributary of the Ohio River in southwestern Kentucky • Syn: ↑Cumberland • Instance Hypernyms: ↑river • Part Holonyms: ↑Kentucky, ↑Bluegrass …   Useful english dictionary

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