What it Feels Like to Swim the Entire Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. The stream is entirely within the United States, its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 31 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river in the world by discharge. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.