1'st mention of this river was by the explorer Pike. There are 2 branches, both of which rise inside Colorado. The N fork enters Kansas near the SW corner of Sherman County, flows 25 mi to the E, turning SE, cutting across the NE corner of Wallace County into Logan County.
The S fork is formed by 2 branches which rise in Kit Carson County and Cheyenne County, Colorado. About 40 mi from Kansas. This branch flows E, enters Kansas at the center of the W line of Wallace County and flows almost due E thru that county to unite with the N branch at a point about 6 mi W of Russell Springs.
The course of the main stream from this point is E thru Logan County, Gove County, Trego County, Ellis County, Russell County and into Ellsworth County, where it bears to the SE, turning and entering the N part of McPherson County. Then makes a sharp curve to the N and enters Saline County, flowing as far N as the town of Salina and deviating slightly to the N of E, passes through Dickinson County and Geary County, uniting with the Republican River to form the Kansas River.