N/NW Arkansas paddling

Anyone have any suggestions for slower rivers (I-II) and lakes that would be good in late June and July in N/NW Arkansas? Day or weekend trips will be the most feasible. We’ve been on the Buffalo and White rivers, both are fantastic, and we will probably hit the White again, but not the Buffalo, since it will probably be low. Feel free too include great fishing spots also :slight_smile:

The counties that we’re looking at are

Benton Carroll Boone Marion

Baxter Washington Madison Newton



Spring River??

Check out …

– Last Updated: Apr-24-08 8:05 PM EST –

Check out the Arkansas Canoe Club website, and ask the same question. I think you'll get a lot more pertinent information there than here.

The Spring river, already suggested,is a pretty river. BUT, you had better check to be sure that the water level is high enough before making a long drive there. Can be a real "drag" if it is low.

I noticed that you said "WE" when describing what rivers you had already done. You also mentioned paddling weekends. If you take yourself & whoever else you paddle with, on the Spring river, on a weekend; you had best be prepared for a Mardi Gras type atmosphere.
Lots & lots of drunks, people playing bumper boats, boats jamming up in virtually every turn, boom boxes, obnoxious behavior, and noise.......among other things.
Definitely "not" a place for small kids!

The Mulberry & Piney in northwest Arkansas are both pretty rivers, but in high water both can most definitely go above class 1 & 2.



– Last Updated: Apr-24-08 9:05 PM EST –

About the Mulberry & Piney-
They can be above class I & II in high water mainly because trees & debris or what?
Oh, and when I said we I was referring to my dad and I.
Thanks for your help.

I've been reading all the threads about the "weekend idiots" during the warmer parts of the year in the Ozarks and I couldn't agree more.

I was on the Buffalo during Memorial day weekend last year and the traffic was actually pretty low and there were no troubles at all.
Later on that summer, we made a trip to the Illinois in NE Oklahoma around Tahlequah with the whole family (including smaller children with fairly virgin ears & eyes) and I was so mad at some of the groups after that I swore off weekend paddling for awhile with my son.

Maybe that was our fault for being stupid enough to take him on a weekend, i don't know, but you'd think people would have more common sense around younger ones.....

Spring River
As much as I wish theBob was wrong, I must agree. The Spring river, even though they have ramped up enforcement, is a party river.

As a matter of fact and Bob, you may not know this if you have not been in the last year, they have even installed a stripper pole at Sadler Falls. Now that is entertainment :slight_smile:

Also, the Spring is not a very friendly river in relation to camping and take-outs. Almost everything is private and has a fee attached, including parking and a per boat fee for launching and exiting.

Also, Bob is correct with his advice. Go to the ACC forum and post on the Recreational Paddling forum and you should get great feedback. I have met no better then the Arkansas paddlers.

Good Luck,


To answer your question regarding what the Mulberry is like at higher flows.

The Mulberry is a great river, and not a lazy float by any stretch of the imagination. If you like pretty constant shoals and rapids, this is your river. But be warned that at higher flows this Class II has some spots that easily go to II+, and as stated, as the flow increases, the water moves out a bit into the willows, that can be a hazard. Tight turns with fast water is the basic characteristic of the Mulberry.

Good Luck and have fun.


Possibly another opportunity for you . I have property on the Fourche River on Hwy 28 at Bluffton , this is between Fort Smith and Hot Springs . I was told by a lady living in the area that there was a good day paddle trip on that section of the river , but we did not have the opportunity to discuss put-in spots . Of course the take out would be at my property. Does anyone from that area know about the river around there . This would be a beautiful place for folks to camp , fish , paddle , and relax.

South Fourche
I have paddled the South Fourche LaFave in that area. I assume it is a tributary of the same? It was a nice float with a few nice whitewater features.

again, back to theBob’s advice. Ask the Arkansas folks. I am from Illinois and am a visitor. those folks probably have the turtles and snakes names :slight_smile:


Beaver Lake
Has some beautiful shoreline and lots of corp of engineers (public) islands and shore where you can camp. The lake dose have lots of boat traffic on weekends though. The same can be said of the other White river impoundments (Table rock and Bull shoales lakes) The War Eagle river should still be floatable from Gar hole to War eagle mill. The lower streatch of the Kings river would also be floatable. The Elk River and Indian creek just north of Bentonville in Missouri are both popular floating rivers. The lower stretches of the Buffalo river are floatable year round, and you can camp along the banks as the river is public land.