Blue River (Missouri River tributary)

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Blue River
Big Blue River
Blue River at Byram's Ford where the Battle of Byram's Ford (a skirmish of the Battle of Westport) was fought by Swope Park
Country United States
States Kansas, Missouri
Part of Missouri River
 - left Brush Creek (Blue River)
City Kansas City
 - location East Johnson County, Kansas, United States
 - elevation 725 ft (221 m)
 - coordinates 38°48′31″N 094°40′50″W / 38.80861°N 94.68056°W / 38.80861; -94.68056 [1]
Mouth Missouri River
 - location Kansas City, Missouri, United States
 - elevation 221 ft (67 m) [1]
 - coordinates 39°07′48″N 094°28′15″W / 39.13000°N 94.47083°W / 39.13000; -94.47083Coordinates: 39°07′48″N 094°28′15″W / 39.13000°N 94.47083°W / 39.13000; -94.47083 [1]
Length 39 mi (63 km), Northeast [2]
Blue River in the Kansas City metropolitan area

The Blue River (also known as the Big Blue River) is a 39.8-mile-long (64.1 km)[2] stream that flows through Johnson County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri, in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. The river rises in Johnson County near the border of the states of Kansas and Missouri. Crossing the city of Kansas City, Missouri, it empties into the Missouri River near the border between Kansas City and Independence, Missouri.

Its major tributaries are Brush Creek, Tomahawk Creek, and Indian Creek.

Recreational Activities[edit]

Along the Blue River can be found many miles of hiking, biking, and walking trails. Portions of these trails can be found along the flat, engineered areas of a former steam railroad bed, the former location of the Missouri Pacific Railroad line that ran from Dodson, Missouri south to Martin City, Missouri. This railbed followed the Blue River and had many curves. The route was straightened in 1954 with the use of three high trestle bridges over the Blue River and one substantial cut. This improved line is now the Union Pacific / KC Southern Mainline and generally parallels the Blue river into the bottoms railyard near Front Street in Kansas City.


On the high bluffs overlooking the confluence of the Blue River and the Missouri River can be found a large Native American mound structure, designated as Indian Mound Park in the Indian Mound neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri.

The three western trails, the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails crossed the river just north of Red Bridge Road and Minor Park. Mountain man/ fur trapper Jim Bridger had a trading post at this location.

During the Civil War, the Blue River was the site of the Battle of Byram's Ford.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Blue River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1978-10-13. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed May 31, 2011