The principal tributary of the Smoky Hill River. The Saline, (Not to be confused with the Salt Creek or "The Grand Saline", otherwise called the Cimarron River ), has its source in the S.W. part of Thomas County. Flowing E. for 60 mi. across the S. part of Thomas and Sheridan County. The Saline then turns slightly to the S., continuing a general E. course, however, across the N. part of Graham County and Ellis County thence proceeding across Russell County N. of the center; E. through Lincoln County; across the S.W. corner of Ottawa, turning sharply to the S.E. emptying into the Smoky Hill River a few miles below the city of Salina, in Saline County. The total length of the stream is about 250 miles. It is not navigable and has no large tributaries.
The drainage area of the Saline River is about 3,419 square miles, giving the entire Smoky Hill River Drainage Basin in Kansas a drainage area of about 12,229 square miles. Topography within the basin is flat to gently rolling, with narrow, shallow valleys and low relief.