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The Portneuf River is a tributary of the Snake River, approximately long, in southeastern Idahomarker in the United Statesmarker. It drains a ranching and farming valley in the mountains southwest of the Snake River Plain. The city of Pocatellomarker sits along the river near its emergence from the mountains onto the Snake River Plain.

The river is part of the Columbia River Basin.


The Portneuf River rises in western Caribou Countymarker, approximately east of Pocatello, along the eastern side of the Portneuf Range. It flows initially south, passing westward around the southern end of the range, and then turning north to flow between the Portneuf Range to the east and the Bannock Range. It flows northwest through downtown Pocatello and enters the Snake at the northeast corner of American Falls Reservoirmarker, approximately northwest of Pocatello.

Watershed and discharge

The Portneuf watershed drains 850,290 acres(3,441 km2) in southeastern Idaho and is bounded by Malad Summit to the south, the Bannock Range to the west, thePortneuf Range to the southeast, and theChesterfield Range to the northeast. MarshCreek is the only major tributary to thePortneuf River . Other creeks in this watershed include Mink, Rapid, Garden,Hawkins, Birch, Dempsey, Pebble, Twentyfourmile, and Toponce creeks. Thetotal area of the Chesterfield Reservoir isestimated at 1,236 acres (5 km2).

The Portneuf River's drainage basin is approximately in area.

Its mean annual discharge, as measured at by USGS gage 13075910 (Portneuf River at Tyhee, ID), is , with a maximum daily recorded flow of , and a minimum of .


The Portneuf River was given its name sometime before 1821 by French Canadian voyageurs working for the Montreal-based fur trading North West Company.

The valley of the Portneuf provided the route of the Oregon Trail and California Trail in the middle 19th century. After the discovery of gold in Montana and Idaho, it became a significant stage route for the transportation of people and goods. In 1877 the valley was used as the route of the Utah and Northern Railway, the first railroad in Idaho.

See also


  2. Upper Snake, Headwaters, Closed Basin Subbasins Plan Plan, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
  3. Upper Snake River basin between Idaho Falls and Neeley (includes Willow Creek, Blackfoot and Portneuf River basins), Water Resources Data, Idaho, 2005

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