At 2,565 miles (4,130), the Missouri River is the longest river in the United States and drains approximately one sixth of the North American continent. It serves as a tributary of the Mississippi River. The combined Missouri-Mississippi river system is the fourth longest river in the world.
Given its name during the 1849 gold rush by emigrants looking to cross it, Death Valley is located in the northern Mojave Desert of southern California. Famous for its brutal heat, on July 10, 1913, it became the location of the hottest temperature ever recorded in the United States (and the second hottest ever recorded in the world) with a scalding temperature of 134°F (56.6°C). The valley usually receives less than 2 inches (5 cm) of rain each year. Ironically, during the late Pleistocene period, Death Valley was submerged beneath a prehistoric lake!
At 6,194 meters (20,320 ft) Mount McKinley, in Alaska, is the tallest mountain in the United States. In the Athabascan language, it is known as Denali which, translated, means "the great one". Named after former U.S. President William McKinley, this mountain was first ascended in 1913 by an expedition led by Hudson Stuck.
With an area of only 1,545 square miles (4,002 sq km), Rhode Island is easily the smallest U.S. state. One of the original thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule during the American Revolution, Rhode Island is known as "The Ocean State".