Zuni River

Zuñi River (Akwałina)
Country United States
States Arizona, New Mexico
County Cibola, McKinley, Valencia, Apache
Source confluence of Rio Pescado and Rio Nutria
 - location near Black Rock, Zuni Indian Reservation, New Mexico
 - elevation 6,535 ft (1,992 m) [1]
 - coordinates 35°06′38″N 108°42′56″W / 35.11056°N 108.71556°W / 35.11056; -108.71556 [2]
Mouth Little Colorado River
 - location Hunt Valley, Arizona
 - elevation 5,407 ft (1,648 m) [2]
 - coordinates 34°38′44″N 109°40′28″W / 34.64556°N 109.67444°W / 34.64556; -109.67444Coordinates: 34°38′44″N 109°40′28″W / 34.64556°N 109.67444°W / 34.64556; -109.67444 [2]
Location of the mouth of the Zuni River in Arizona

The Zuni (Zuñi) River is a tributary of the Little Colorado River in the southwestern United States. It has its origin in Cibola County, New Mexico, in the Zuñi Mountains at the Continental Divide. The river flows off the western slopes of the Zuñi Mountains in a generally southwesterly direction through the Zuni Indian Reservation to join the Little Colorado River in eastern Arizona. The Zuni River is approximately 90 miles (140 km) long, and has a drainage basin in New Mexico of approximately 1,300 square miles (3,400 km2).[3]


The Zuñi River begin about 4.5 miles east-northeast of Black Rock at the confluence of the Rio Pescado and Rio Nutria. It was dammed at Black Rock in 1908 forming the Black Rock Reservoir.[4][5] The river has a small dam at the Zuni Pueblo.[6] The river is intermittent, drying up during drought periods, and often during most of the winter, except where there are perennial springs that give it surface flow for a short distance.[3]


The Zuni River is one of the last remaining habitats of the Zuni bluehead sucker.[7]

Religious aspect

The Zuni River is sacred to the Zuni people. Every four years, a religious pilgrimage is made on the "Barefoot Trail" to Kołuwala:wa, also called "Zuni Heaven", at the confluence or the Zuni River and the Little Colorado.[8]

See also


  1. Source elevation derived from Google Earth search using GNIS source coordinates.
  2. 1 2 3 "Zuñi River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. February 8, 1980. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014.
  3. 1 2 Orr, Brennon R. (1987). Water Resources of the Zuni Tribal Lands, McKinley and Cibola Counties, New Mexico. U.S.G.S. Water-supply Paper 2227. Washington, DC: United States Geological Survey. p. 37. OCLC 11134685.
  4. "Geographic Names Information System (GNIS): Feature Detail Report for: Black Rock Reservoir". United States Geological Survey. 13 November 1980.
  5. Dodge, William A. (2010). Black Rock: A Zuni Cultural Landscape and the Meaning of Place. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 181182. ISBN 978-1-57806-993-4.
  6. Zuni Quadrangle, New MexicoMcKinley Co. (35108A7TF024) (Map). 1:24,000. 7.7 miniute series (topographic). United States geological Survey. 1972. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014.
  7. "Zuni Bluehead Sucker". Center for Biological Diversity. May 3, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  8. Wemytewa, Edward & Peters, Tia Oros (2008). "Zuni River Shiwinan Kʼyawinanne". In Solinger, Rickie; Fox, Madeline & Irani, Kayhan. Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims. New York: Routledge. pp. 1522. ISBN 978-0-415-96079-3.

External links

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