Looking for a fun way to spend a lazy afternoon in Arkansas? Well, if you’re a local, then you already know that there are a lot of great spots to take out the canoe on the weekend. We’ve checked out some of the most popular spots in the state to come up with our list of the best places to take your canoe out in the Arkansas. See if your favorite spot made the list below, and if not just let us know about it in the comments!
White River offers 720 miles of canoeing pleasure and goes from Arkansas into Missouri and back again before joining the Mighty Mississippi River. Along the course of this river, there are a great deal of transformations. It starts as a mountain stream and even has a few rapids and where it ends, it is broad and serves the towboat and barge industry. Around Bull Shoals Dam there is a lovely “floatable” stretch of the river. This area is amazing for canoeing and even for fishing. The scenery along White River also makes it a great place to canoe. You will be able to have fantastic views of the Ozark bluffs. There is also typically fog rising from the water in the early morning sunlight, which is a must see sight. One more can’t miss feature of this river are the shore lunches. These are cooked by outfitters who are very experienced and can be found on the gravel bars of the river.
This river is actually more of a stream but it is 50 miles long and during the spring can be quite a wild ride. It begins deep in the Ozark Mountains and flows to the Arkansas River. This waterway offers such exciting things as pouring over ledges, whipping around sharp curves and shooting through thickets of willow trees. Because of this, the river gets high marks from floaters. In the summer, the river transforms back into a peaceful stream where you can fish, skip rocks and swim. Even though this river is more of a seasonal option, there is something here for everyone. In 1985, it was declared to be a “scenic river of the State of Arkansas” by the General Assembly, and then in 1992, it was named a “National Wild and Scenic River”. Traditional months for canoeing this river are between late fall and June. Access points are located at Wolf Pen, Campbell Cemetery and the Highway 23 Crossing.
Little Red River
This is one of the most popular streams for both fishing and floating. It flows from the bottom of the Greers Ferry Dam and then merges with the White River right around the Hurricane Lake Wildlife Management Area. It is mainly popular because of the fact that it is a blue ribbon trout stream that is regularly stocked with thousands of trout. It features scenery that is amazing and there are quite a few access points that are convenient. This is one of the rivers that offers you a good canoeing experience regardless of the time of year. Watch for the dam though, because the actual condition of the water is highly influenced by the generation periods of its powerhouse. When water is released from the dam, it can be quite swift and even dangerous. However, once the generation is over, it reverts to a sleepy little meandering stream with numerous shoals and gentle pools. Also, avoid the first few miles because there are boulders which make it difficult for canoers.
Please note that in Arkansas, there are actually 10 Crooked Creeks. However, only one of them has been described to be the best fishing stream for smallmouth bass. Located in the central northern area of Arkansas, it begins in Dogpatch. It goes though quite a bit of rural countryside before joining the White River. All told, it covers about 80 miles. This is a great creek for canoeing for those who are into peaceful, gorgeous scenery. You will row past lush pasturelands, bottomland thickets, bluffs, cedar glades and rolling hills. The stream also has a variety of rowing experiences on display with clear water, fast chutes and deep pools. You might even see a vast array of wildlife along the shores, such as great blue herons, ospreys, kingfishers, deer, mink and beaver. The river can also be broken down into 3 trips. Pyatt to Turkey offers overhanging limbs, gravel bars and riffles. Turkey to Kelly’s Slab is a good day trip that offers occasional hazards, fast chutes and great scenery and then Kelly’s Slab to Yellville…a half day trip. This one is similar to the first one.
This creek is 30 miles long and anyone wishing to canoe here will be challenged by narrow chutes, big rocks and steep drops. They will also be amazed at how utterly breathtaking the scenery is. The early part of this waterway goes through both public and private land. Halfway to Buffalo, it goes into the Richland Creek Wilderness, which is a tract of forest measuring 11,822 acres and this area contains the greatest features of the waterway. These include Richland Falls, Twin Falls, Rose Hollow, Jack Jones Hollow and Falling Water Creek. The best time of the year for canoeing this waterway are from late winter to early spring.