The Virgin River is the lifeblood of southwestern Utah, shaping the dramatic scenery of the area, and making it possible for people and wildlife to survive. The Virgin River is a desert stream characterized by huge flow fluctuations ranging from a warm trickle in the heat of summer to a cold, raging torrent during spring run-off and flash floods.
The Virgin River travels for over 150 miles from its headwaters above Zion National Park, twisting and turning through alpine forests and spectacular red rock canyons, into the Joshua tree flats of the Mohave Desert. Even though the Virgin is a relatively short river—with over half of its length in Washington County—it is unique in that it flows uninterrupted through such a variety of landscapes on its way to Lake Mead.
The North and East Forks of the Virgin River cut the spectacular canyons of Zion National Park, creating the beauty that draws visitors from all over the world. Many additional tributaries augment the Virgin River on its way downstream, including North, LaVerkin, and Ash Creeks, Ft. Pearce Wash, the Santa Clara River, and Beaver Dam Wash.