About This Place
The White River is a Missouri River tributary that flows 580 miles (930 km) through the U.S. states of Nebraska and South Dakota. The name stems from the water's white-gray color, a function of eroded sand, clay, and volcanic ash carried by the river. Draining a basin of about 10,200 square miles (26,000 km2), the stream flows through a region of sparsely populated hills, plateaus, and badlands.
The White River rises in northwestern Nebraska, in the Pine Ridge escarpment north of Harrison, at an elevation of 4,861 feet (1,482 m) above sea level. It flows southeast then northeast past Fort Robinson and north of Crawford. It crosses into southwestern South Dakota and flows north across the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, then northeast, receiving Wounded Knee Creek and flowing between units of Badlands National Park. At the northern edge of the reservation it flows east-northeast and southeast, forming the northern boundary of the reservation and the southern boundary of Buffalo Gap National Grassland. It receives the Little White River about 15 miles (24 km) south of Murdo, and flows east to join the Missouri in Lake Francis Case about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Chamberlain.