Water is the lifeblood of our planet. Everything on the surface of the earth subsists off of water, from animals to plants. Seventy-one percent of the earth’s surface is covered in water, and not all of it is the same.

Some waters are sparkling blue and green, while others are more muddied and brown. Then there are waters that are crystal clear, everything visible straight to the bottom of their depths.

Water like this is clean and unpolluted, with none of the average human runoff that can make the water look less than perfect. Let’s discuss six of these clear rivers that are present globally. They include:

  1. The Blue River, Greenland
  2. Rio da Prata, Brazil
  3. Rio Sucuri, Brazil
  4. Verzasca River, Switzerland
  5. Rio Azul, Argentina
  6. Jiuzhaigou, China

These rivers are all prime examples of clear, beautiful water. Let’s dive into the clearest rivers in the world one by one!

You may wonder what can make a river clear and how the water ends up so stunningly clean. There are lots of reasons for this, but often when a river is a clearwater river, it is because it flows very fast.

Also, clearwater rivers tend to have a neutral ph balance, so they are not as acidic or harsh as other water. Most water has dissolved sediment and other debris, and clearwater rivers have much less of this.

Many mountain rivers and streams can be very clear because they are fed by cold natural springs, which are usually free of silica dust. Algae growth in these rivers and streams can be limited by chemicals that occur naturally in the water, as well as ultra-low temperatures. The lack of algae makes for water that’s free of the greenish tint found in most bodies of water.

Being a clearwater river doesn’t necessarily mean it will be perfectly clear and pristine, but we will examine a few of these rivers that are. When the water rushes by on a calm day, it reflects the sky on it so that it is almost invisible.

The Blue River is located in Greenland, and it’s easy to see where it found this moniker. From above the river is a long blue liquid line, like your classic children’s drawing of what a river should look like.

This river is found on the Petermann Glacier in Greenland, which is why it is so clear.

The glacier is melting, and the river can be found in a new intriguing shape every year. Glacier melt is clean and clear and fills up the base of the river, which is how it ends up immaculate.

People explore this exquisite river by kayaking along it, though reaching it can be its own exploration because it is not located near any settlements and is a bit of a trek to reach. This also means that it remains unspoiled by pollution and human touch, which is much of its charm, along with the turquoise shade it has.


There are quite a few popular clearwater rivers around Bonito, Brazil. This is because high levels of limestone belowground filter the water free of sediments and help neutralize its acidity.

This means that the Rio da Prata is one of the clearest rivers to be found in the world and one of the most popular. Tourists and locals love donning a wetsuit and exploring the chilling waters.

From above, it is a glass mirror of the sky above it, reflecting everything back over layers of its own floor beneath. From below, it is like teleporting into an alternate world with multicolored fish and plants easy to spot and examine.

The Rio da Prata is home to crystalline waters and tropical fish, with monkeys and other animals bordering the lush jungle that follows it. Many love to snorkel and see a whole world we are not always privy to.

Rio Sucuri is a river also located near Bonito in Brazil. These springs are gorgeous, clear, and cool. Many people love taking a ride down the waters to experience the view, watching the fish and other river life twining between their legs as they float onward.

From above, the waters shine in a bright cerulean blue layered with darker blues as the depths grow. Everything is visible, almost as if the water were glass. It is common for people to wear flotation devices and snorkel along the river, viewing the bottom in a way you just can’t view other rivers.

The Rio Sucuri is bordered by lush green foliage, and it feels as if you’ve escaped to a whole new world when traveling along it. Wildlife near Bonito includes capybaras and also hundreds of species of exotic birds.

The Verzasca River is in Ticino, Switzerland, and runs nineteen miles long. This river is a lovely gradient of jade green and deep blue when spotted from above, sometimes with a neat divide along it. When level with the water, it is a clear emerald along its length.

Running across stones polished over the years, the river is a beautiful testament to nature and is an idyllic spot for travelers to visit. There are natural jacuzzis where water powers through holes in the rocks into little divots where people can rest. The stones that follow the river are easy for traversing.

The water is cool and clear to the bottom, so you can see the landscape of stones that make up its base. During the summer, this is a popular place for visitors or locals to swim and spend a day exploring.

The Rio Azul is hidden within the landscape of Argentina and can be reached by car, hiking, horseback, or bicycle. The water is a bright blue and clear to the bottom. It is a standard hiking destination for many, and the water is crystalline and cool.

Rocky gorges circle the river and cause little waterfalls to flow. This, along with the rocky and pebbled bottom, leads to a captivating picturesque image.

The river is popular for rafting, and the waters can get rough in some spots. Exploring the landscape is a must when visiting the clearwater Rio Azul.

Last but certainly not least is Jiuzhaigou in China. Jiuzhaigou means “Nine Settlement Valley,” which is not just a river. It’s a nature preserve and wilderness area found in Sichuan Province in China. It is also a national park in China.

It is home to clearwater rivers and lakes that are a delight to explore. The charm of nature is as clear as the water visible. Jiuzhaigou has many waterfalls and lakes along with rivers that connect them all. There is no one river to be named, as the whole area is pure and unpolluted.

Nature is beautiful but untouchable, as visitors are not allowed to swim or kayak in the water to keep it pristine. Like other rivers mentioned earlier, forests and woodlands surround the water and originally came from glacial melts.

Jiuzhaigou’s waters come in shades of blue and green and are dammed in now by stones that came from rockfalls that secured their state. Many lakes come in different shades depending on the makeup of the soil and rock around them.

Info for this blog : Discover 6 Of The Clearest Rivers In The World – AZ Animals (a-z-animals.com)

The State of UK rivers on the other hand is pretty grim and hasn’t improved since last year.

England has an incredible natural river heritage. Our country is home to 85% of the world’s chalk streams—some of the most ecologically rare habitats on the planet. Rivers provide two thirds of our water supplies, give us sanctuary and adventure, plus they support a huge variety of wildlife.

The public recognise our rivers as the national treasures they are—yet none of our rivers are in good overall health. They all fail chemical standards, and just 14% pass the bar for good ecological health. This has huge implications for nature and for all of us.

The State of UK Rivers by Tom Gauld

Farming and wastewater are the biggest offenders

Of the rivers failing to achieve good status, agriculture impacts the most, affecting up to 62% (over 2,300) of our river water bodies. Over half of our rivers are also impacted by the water sector, mainly by sewage effluent. Despite improvements in some of our urban rivers over the last 20 years, towns and roads still negatively impact a quarter of our rivers.

Different activities within these sectors have different levels of impact on rivers. The single activity with the most widespread impact on rivers is discharges of treated sewage effluent. This impacted 1,602 river waterbodies in 2020 (43% of river water bodies). Impacts from raw sewage spills via storm overflows, of which there were 403,171 recorded in 2020, contributed towards 12% of river water bodies failing standards. As a whole, the water sector contributed more than half of our river water bodies (53%) failing to achieve good status.

In rural areas, poor nutrient management (fertiliser) is the agricultural activity that has the greatest negative impact, affecting 36% of all river waterbodies, and poor livestock management affects 28%. This is usually poor management of manure and slurry, which when not properly contained, treated or spread, can get washed off into rivers.

These statistics show that we are not gaining enough ground when it comes to protecting rivers. While we may be winning small battles, we are losing the war. We cannot continue the trend of incremental, disjointed improvements for rivers, where these crucial habitats are treated as an afterthought.

Rivers are on the frontline of our climate and nature crises. We are already seeing climate impacts through more extreme floods and droughts. Globally, wildlife populations in freshwater ecosystems are suffering losses greater than those observed in any other habitat. To adapt to and recover from climate shocks, we need healthy rivers. Our race to resilience will be won or lost on rivers, and right now, we’re losing.

The info for this blog: State of Our Rivers | The Rivers Trust

What are the cleanest rivers in the US?

The San Marcos river in Texas.

Not only is this water clear, but it is also extraordinarily clean. It is ten times cleaner than the FDA drinking water requirements. This is because the San Marcos River is fed by freshwater springs near the city of San Marcos.

The water is constantly 72 degrees, so recreation at varying spots along the river is popular. There are parts of the clear water that are rapids while others are lazy. It offers a bit of choice for everyone, from tubing to white water kayaking.

Eight endangered animals live here, including the fountain darter and the Texas blind salamander. It has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the American Southwest. It is dealing with an invasive species issue, with 48 documented species having been introduced to the area.

Warren Falls is one of the highlights of the Mad River in Vermont. The Mad River also contains first-class water pools and other great recreational spots along its banks.

The water is almost crystal clear but has an emerald twinge to it. That doesn’t stop visitors from being able to see to the bottom. There are brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout to be fished from the waters of the Mad River.

The Mad River is a tributary of the Winooski River, which eventually flows into Lake Champlain.

The Guadalupe River is in central Texas. There are several dams along this river. The upper part of the river in the hill country is where it is crystal clear. The water is swifter near its origin, and the bottom is made of limestone, which means there’s hardly any sediment. An aquifer called Edwards Aquifer feeds all the channels that merge with this river.

The lack of sediment and spring-filled water makes for a crystal-clear environment. It is home to the Guadalupe round-nose minnow. About a mile southwest of the river, a rare white-nosed coati has been spotted.

There are pools located along the east fork of the Black River in Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park that are famous for being crystal clear and fun. The Upper Black River before Clearwater Lake is clean and clear as well.

The Black River is part of the Ozark River system, fed by fresh springs. The river’s stone encasement keeps it free from sediments. The three forks diverge in the Mark Twain National Forest and come back together in Arkansas.

The pools on the east fork of the Black River are technically still part of the river, but the water gets trapped in the ancient worn nooks and crannies of rocks along the banks. These rocks and barriers form sloping falls and slowly moving pools of water that are some of the clearest in the United States.

Recreational watersports on the east fork of the Black River begin below these pools because the river is not navigable through the pool area.

This river is home to wildlife, including eastern spiny softshell turtles, longnose gar, crayfish, red ear slider turtles, map turtles, and bullfrogsSmallmouth bass is a popular catch for fishermen.

The Comal river in Texas is only two miles long, and its entire length is within the city of New Braunfels. It has a rocky bottom which helps make it one of the clearest rivers in the United States.

The Comal River meets up with the Guadalupe River, but it is distinctly different. It is one of the tributaries that are fed by the Edwards Aquifer into the Guadalupe. The name of the spring feeding the Edwards Aquifer is Comal Springs. It is considered a river because it is fully navigable, and the locals of New Braunfels hold this river in high esteem.

The fountain darter lives here, and it is only one of two home locations left in the wild for this fish. The other is the San Marcos River.

The Smith River’s origins are in the Klamath Mountains. It then makes its way through Del Norte County in Northern California before meeting the Pacific. This is California’s only undammed river. It is environmentally protected in various ways, and almost no human development has been allowed. Salmon and steelhead are found in abundance.

The surrounding forest is an old forest that hasn’t been damaged by human industry. There are huge redwoods to be seen on the Smith River. The water has remained almost crystal clear because of this and the surrounding geology.

Almost no sediment exists in this river. There are green and blue stones along the river bottom that shine in the right sunlight through the clear water. This makes the water turquoise.

The info for this blog: 6 Clearest Rivers In The United States (3 Are In Texas!) – AZ Animals (a-z-animals.com)