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The Loup River (pronounced /lup/) is a tributary of the Platte River, approximately long, in central Nebraskamarker in the United Statesmarker. The river drains a sparsely populated rural agricultural area on the eastern edge of the Great Plainsmarker southeast of the Sandhillsmarker. The name of the river means "wolf" in French, named by early Frenchmarker trappers after the Skiri or Skidi band of the Pawnee, who called themselves the "Wolf People," and lived along its banks. The river and its tributaries, including the North Loup, Middle Loup, and South Loup, are known colloquially as "the Loups", comprising over 1800 mi (2900 km) of streams and draining approximately one-fifth of Nebraska.


The river is formed in eastern Howard Countymarker, approximately 5 mi (8 km) northeast of St. Paulmarker and 20 mi (32 km) north of Grand Islandmarker, by the confluence of the North Loup and Middle Loup rivers. It flows ENE, past Fullertonmarker, where it is joined from the north by the Cedar River. It continues ENE roughly parallel to the Platte, past Genoamarker, separated from the Platte by approximately 15 mi (24 km). It joins the Platte from the northwest approximately 4 mi (6.4 km) southeast of Columbusmarker.

A diversion dam southwest of Genoa diverts water to the Loup canal to hydroelectric facilities in Monroemarker and then in Columbusmarker. The canal then runs into the Platte a short distance below its confluence with the Loup.

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