Mojave Desert Rivers:
The North Fork of the Virgin river begins north of Zion at Cascade Falls which comes out of a cave near
Navajo Lake (elevation 9,000 ft). The East Fork of the Virgin River originates above Long Valley. Both the North
and East Forks of the Virgin River run through
Zion National Park,
through the southwestern corner of Utah into the northwestern
corner of Arizona, a portion of Nevada and then empties into
(approx. 1,000 ft elevation), then into the
which empties into the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez. The total length of the Virgin River is about 200 miles.
The climate of the river are that of the
Mojave Desert ecosystem
with hot summers and mild winters.
along the river are also typical of the Mojave.
The naming of the river according to some sources is attributed to
who named the river after Thomas Virgin,
a member of his
Virgin was severely wounded by Indians during a battle in this area. Virgin was later killed
in a fight on the Umpqua River. Another possibility, but not certainty, is that the Virgin River was named "La Virgen"
by Spanish Catholic Missionaries in honor of the Virgin Mary.
Virgin River in Virgin Gorge, Arizona