The White River watershed encompasses 710 square miles, draining portions of Addison, Orange, Rutland, Washington and Windsor Counties, including 50,000 acres of the Green Mountain National Forest. The White River originates in the Town of Ripton on the slopes of Battell Mountain, then flows southerly and easterly before merging with the Connecticut River in the Town of Hartford. The 56-mile main stem of the White River has 5 major tributaries: the First Branch, the Second Branch, the Third Branch, the West Branch, and the Tweed River.
The White River is significant for being one of the last free-flowing rivers in the State of Vermont, and is the longest un-dammed tributary to the Connecticut River, which is an American Heritage River. The White River watershed is also a designated Special Focus Area of the US Fish & Wildlife Service Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge.