The Little Colorado River is a river in the U.S. state of Arizona,providing the principal drainage from the Painted Desert region. Together with its major tributary, the Puerco River
, it drains an area of about 26,500 square miles (69,000 km2) in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico
. This Colorado River tributary is over 315 miles (507 km) long, but being a transient desert river, its average discharge is typically less than 400 cubic feet per second (11 m3/s), and can vary greatly throughout the year.
The river rises as two forks in the White Mountains of mid-eastern Arizona, in Apache County. The West Fork starts in a valley on the north flank of Mount Baldy at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m), while the East Fork starts nearby, eventually joining together in a canyon near the town of Greer, forming the main Little Colorado River. It flows into River Reservoir, then leaves the canyon near Eagar.