I know this is late notice but me and my girlfriend and some other individuals were looking for a good place to kayak in the Midwest this weekend. We are currently in Oklahoma but can travel to Missouri and Arkansas (really anywhere). We just want a nice river that flows nicely, has some decent rapids and a good all around place to spend 6-7 hours on the water. Anyone have any ideas? We are beginners to kayaking but have kayaked before in the past. Thank you
I suggested the Eleven Point in south
Missouri, but my initial post seems to have disappeared.
Anyway, it has reliable water and easy rapids. NPS campgrounds along the way. Outfitter shuttle.
are probably the Current River and the Eleven Point. The Jack's Fork is probably doable from Alley Spring to Eminence at current water level. That would be an easy day trip. The Jack's will be too low above Alley Spring and I would not recommend going below Eminence due to water quality issues.
The Eleven Point will probably be too low above Greer Spring but you could put in at Greer and go down as far as you like (from Greer to Riverton is about 19 miles). At current levels there are a couple of rapids that might rate a Class 1+ or perhaps II- depending on your perspective.
On the Current you could run from Akers Ferry to Round Spring (again around 19 miles) or you could break it up into two days and camp at Pulltite campground, roughly half way between the two. There is nothing harder than Class I rapids on the Current and Jack's Fork, but one needs to be careful with rootwads which pose the greatest potential hazard to paddlers.
The advantage of the these rivers is that they are spring fed which generally keeps them at a doable level throughout the year. They are also very scenic. The disadvantage is that they can attract large numbers of livery customers on summer weekends, some of which can be noisy and sometimes unrefined. The Current and Jack's Fork tend to attract more of these folks than the Eleven Point. You chose to post this in the wilderness tripping subforum. Needless to say, you are not going to find any real wilderness river trips in the central Midwest but if you are looking for a river with a somewhat more secluded feel I would pick the Eleven Point over the Current or Jack's Fork.
There are plenty of gravel bars on the Current which make admirable campsites for overnight trips. The Eleven Point has fewer gravel bars but does have a number of paddle-in campsites. There are outfitters on the Current and in Eminence that will do a shuttle for you but they tend to be rather pricey. I would recommend running your own shuttle if possible.
They are really too low right now but for future reference some other regional favorites that are dependent on natural runoff are the North Fork River(actually North Fork of the White River) in southern MO and the Buffalo in Arkansas.
Pete is the master …
Pete is the master of understatement by saying some of the weekend renters on the Current “can be noisy and sometimes unrefined.” The rest of us use thebob’s phrase and call them river dorks.
I agree on the Eleven Point and the Current Rivers as the best Ozark rivers for reliable canoeing any time except in years of extreme drought.
I will add that you can add you can go further down river than Round Springs. Round Springs to Two Rivers is about 18 miles. It would make for a longer day but you will pass Bee Bluff at about halfway, which I highly recommend.
I usually turn it in to an overnight trip and camp across from Bee Bluff. Nothing better than sitting by the river watching the moon rise behind Bee Bluff at night, or watching the rising sun light up the bluff in the morning.
If you don’t want to camp (or do)
and want to sleep in you might consider the Ouachita river below Remmel Dam just outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas. At noon every Saturday and Sunday between Memorial and Labor Days Entergy releases around 3600 CFS from the Lake Catherine dam. If you put in at noon you can have a great relaxing little three to four hour float with fairly swift water and some class one shoals. The takeout is a whitewater play park, so you can run the drop and take out or you can run the drop and stay and play with a bunch of REALLY good kayakers who will be glad to teach you some neat stuff and pull you out of trouble if necessary. If you don’t want to run the river you can simply park and play. When you get tired you can load the boats and go to dinner. Very different experience from the Current, Eleven Point, etc. but a lot of fun.