North Platte, river, c.680 mi (1,090 km) long, rising in the Park Range, N Colo., and flowing in a great bend N through SE Wyo., then east across the plains of W central Nebr. to join the South Platte River at North Platte city and form the Platte River. The North Platte project and the Kendrick project utilize the North Platte's water for power and irrigation. Kingsley Dam (170 ft/52 m high and 3.4 mi/5.5 km long; completed 1942) near Ogallala, Nebr., is one of many dams on the river, and there are also large reservoirs. The valley of the North Platte was a chief route used by westward-bound pioneers. Fort Laramie National Historic Site is on the river near the mouth of the Laramie River.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.