Colorado has 158 named rivers flowing through the state, with all but the Green and Cimarron Rivers having their headwaters within Colorado. These rivers flow either east towards the Atlantic or west towards the Pacific, depending on which side of the Continental Divide they originate. Furthermore, headwaters from Colorado’s eight major river basins provide water to nearly 6 million Coloradans, along with millions of others in 19 downstream states and Mexico. These waters support habitat, wildlife, recreation, food production, energy, industry, drinking water supplies, and more.

Colorado has approximately 107,403 miles of river, of which 76 miles of one river system, the Cache la Poudre, are designated as Wild & Scenic—less than 1/10th of 1% of the state's river miles.