Wind River Basin – Surface drainage

Major drainages in the Wind River Basin headwater in the Wind River Range. Most flow in perennial streams is from snowmelt in the mountains. Rejected recharge from Mesozoic through Precambrian aquifers in the Wind River Range and irrigation return flows from Quaternary and Tertiary aquifers add to perennial flows. Ephemeral streams in the central basin flow only in response to thunderstorms and do not contribute significantly to overall stream flow. The Wind River, which drains the Wind River Basin, flows southeastward from the westernmost border of the basin to near Riverton, where it swings northwestward and then northward to drain the basin through Wind River Canyon. The Wind River continues northward in the Bighorn Basin to Wedding of the Waters, where it becomes the Bighorn River. Major streams and their tributaries within the Wind River Basin are listed in Table 3-1; several are shown in Figure 3-2, and all are shown on Plate I and IV.

Table 3-1. Wind River Basin surface drainage divisions by tributary rank and downstream order.

Reference View complete Wind/Bighorn Basin Water Plan