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The Beaverhead River is an approximately 69-mile (111 km)-long tributary of the Jefferson River in southwest Montana (East of the Continental Divide). It drains an area of roughly 3,619 square miles (9,370 km2). Its original headwaters, formed by the confluence of the Red Rock River and Horse Prairie Creek, are now flooded under Clark Canyon Reservoir, which also floods the first 6 miles (9.7 km) of the river. The Beaverhead then flows through a broad valley northward to join the Big Hole River and form the Jefferson River. With the Red Rock River included in its length, the river stretches another 70 miles (110 km), for a total length of 139 miles (224 km), one of the more significant drainages of south-western Montana.
Together with the Red Rock River, the Beaverhead forms the uppermost headwaters of the Missouri River, the largest tributary of the Mississippi River.
The river is a Class I water from the Clark Canyon Dam to its confluence with the Jefferson river for the purposes of public access for recreational purposes.