The Crooked River originates north of Lawson, Missouri and flows southeastward for about 70 miles where it empties into the Missouri River south of Hardin, Missouri, draining 335 square miles.
The basin is rural with Richmond (population 5,738; 1990 U.S. Census) being the largest city in the watershed. Population in the basin is growing as Kansas City suburbs expand eastward. Land use in the basin is dominated by agriculture. Only one percent (2,182 acres) of the watershed is in public ownership.