Arkansas Canoeing and Lake Kayaking
ivers, streams, and lakes in Arkansas
offer something for everyone, from peaceful floats to adrenaline-pumping whitewater adventure in the Class IV rapids of the Cossatot Falls to the wild and scenic Arkansas canoeing
along the Spring River.
Rivers and lakes in Arkansas
are rich in natural beauty and wildlife. Explore open waters and quiet coves, and experience watching wildlife and birds native to Arkansas
. Advanced and intermediate paddlers seek out Arkansas white water rafting
on the Cossatot River. Beginners and families can pack a cooler and launch into one of the many fishing lakes in Arkansas
, or fish for trout on the White River.
Whether you're seeking exciting Arkansas whitewater rafting
or peaceful flat-water floating, the State Parks of Arkansas can connect you to some of the best canoeing and lake kayaking in Arkansas.
Bull Shoals-White River State Park
Whether you prefer canoeing or lake kayaking in Arkansas, paddling through the early morning fog on the White River can be peaceful and inspiring. For details about Bull Shoals-White River State Park, call 870-445-3629 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/BullShoalsWhiteRiver.
Cane Creek State Park
To experience all that 1,675-acre Cane Creek Lake has to offer it is best to explore its shallow, timber filled waters by canoe or kayak. These can be rented from the park visitor center. Kayaking and canoeing on Cane Creek Lake is peaceful here where wildlife abounds and Water Lilies bloom. Bring your waterproof binoculars so you don't miss out on the wildlife viewing opportunities. During summer months parts of the lake are covered in white Water Lilies and yellow Lotus Blossoms. A marked trail on the lake weaves through tall Bald cypress trees and then out amongst the Water Lilies. Follow this trail or paddle where ever you wish. Park staff also offer kayak tours on the lake. These tours range from afternoon explorations to full moon kayak tours. For details about Cane Creek State Park, call 870-628-4714 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/CaneCreek.
Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area
The upper Cossatot has long been known for its excellent Arkansas white water rafting opportunities when rain events trigger the rapid change in the river's character. This National Wild and Scenic River is a watershed basin with flow levels dependent on rainfall. These high water events occur most often in early spring, late fall and winter. The upper Cossatot watershed averages about 52 inches of rain annually with the highest average occurring in the fall. And, when the water is high, the paddlers are here. After significant precipitation, the river level rises, allowing experienced paddlers the opportunity to test their skills in challenging Class IV and V whitewater. At Cossatot Falls, a rocky canyon with distinct ledges, the river drops 33 feet in elevation within 1/3 of a mile. Class IV-V whitewater is for experts only. During these periods the river can be extremely dangerous and certainly not for the inexperienced paddler. River stage information is available 24 hours a day by calling 870-387-3141. However, there is another side of the Cossatot that can open the door to a wonderful outdoor adventure with much less hazard. During the months of May and June the park staff offer guided kayak tours on a five-mile stretch of river below Cossatot Falls. These eco-tours are available when the river gauge is between two feet and three feet. This level on this section of river is safe for visitors just wanting to get an introduction to lake kayaking in Arkansas. This adventure tour affords visitors the opportunity to experience some of the rugged beauty often not seen along this outstanding Ouachita Mountain stream. For river stage information (in feet) from the Highway 246 access, call 870-387-3141 or visit the U.S. Geological Survey website for Cossatot River real-time data at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=07340300.
For details about Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area, call 870-385-2201 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/CossatotRiver.
Crowley's Ridge State Park
Brightly-colored fall foliage and a rich blue sky are reflected in the calm waters of Lake Ponder at Crowley's Ridge State Park, where visitors can enjoy recreational kayaking and Arkansas canoeing. For details about Crowley's Ridge State Park, call 870-573-6751 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/CrowleysRidge.
Daisy State Park
The Little Missouri River flows into Lake Greeson making it an excellent place for canoes and kayaks to roam the lake. Lake Greeson's many bays form excellent viewing points from both kayaks and canoes. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and the natural geographic formations on the lake from a different perspective. You can launch right from your waterfront campsite at Daisy State Park, pictured here. For details about Daisy State Park, call 870-398-4487 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/Daisy.
Davidsonville Historic State Park
This state park, on the banks of the Black River, borders the south end of the historic town site of Davidsonville. This once flourishing river town faded in the 1830s when bypassed by the Southwest Trail. You can choose between two eight-mile excursions. Float from the town of Pocahontas down to the park, or put in at the park's riverfront and paddle down to historic Powhatan. The park offers all the equipment you'll need, plus shuttle service. The Black River usually flows about two miles per hour, so plan for your eight-mile journey to last about three to four hours. During the 19th century, rivers were the major means of travel for settlers, trappers and traders. Trace the route these early pioneers traveled in their keelboats, flat boats, and jon boats. Here you'll paddle back in time at the site of the Arkansas Territory's first post office, courthouse and federal land office. For details about Davidsonville Historic State Park, call 870-892-4708, or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/OldDavidsonville.
DeGray Lake Resort State Park
DeGray Lake is the setting for a variety of activities including canoeing and kayaking. The 13,800-acre lake, with 207 miles of shoreline and many islands to explore, offers something for everyone, whether visitors are experienced canoeists or kayakers, or novices. Paddlers will find hundreds of quiet coves to explore on DeGray Lake where birding and wildlife watching is outstanding. Guided tours are hosted by the park interpreters at DeGray Lake Resort State Park, or visitors can rent their own boats and explore the lake. For details about the DeGray Lake Resort State Park, call 501-865-5810 or visit: www.Degray.com.
Lake Catherine State Park
Lake Catherine State Park offers a free boat ramp with parking. The boat ramp is located in Slunger Bay. Heading to the right, canoers and kayakers will find an easy paddle to the waterfall. This 1,940-acre lake is great for canoes and kayaks, especially during early morning or early evening as there is not a lot of boat traffic on the water at these times. Lake Catherine State Park interpreters offer full moon kayak tours and other barge tours in the summertime. Park schedules are posted about a week ahead of time. For details about Lake Catherine State Park, call 501-844-4176 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/LakeCatherine.
Lake Chicot State Park
Experience Lake Chicot from a kayak. Explore the hidden secrets of the cypress-tupelo swamp in areas that can only be accessed in a kayak. Paddle among the American Lotus and tall cypress tress. On sunny days, watch egrets, herons, waterfowl, and woodpeckers fly overhead, and see fish snatching insects right below your bow. Bring along your rod and reel and fish from your kayak. Bring your waterproof binoculars so you don't miss out on the wildlife viewing opportunities. Be mindful of windy days and motor boats. For details about Lake Chicot State Park, call 870-265-5480 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/LakeChicot.
Lake Dardanelle State Park
You can launch your kayak or canoe right from your waterfront campsite at Lake Dardanelle State Park and explore this large lake that is part of the Arkansas River. Kayak rentals are available. For details about Lake Dardanelle State Park, call 479-967-5516 or visit: www.ArkansasStatePark.com/LakeDardanelle.
Lake Ouachita State Park
Lake Ouachita's immense size, pristine shoreline, and numerous islands provide beauty and scenery found nowhere else in the state. Kayak and canoe rentals are available at Lake Ouachita State Park on the lake's east end, and the park also offers guided paddling tours and overnight island camping trips. For details about Lake Ouachita State Park, call 501-767-9366 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/LakeOuachita.
Lake Poinsett State Park
The natural beauty of Crowley's Ridge provides the scenic backdrop for this 640-acre lake that provides great boating opportunities. Those who enjoy kayaking and canoeing will enjoy the quiet surroundings and abundant wildlife here at Lake Poinsett. Great Blue Herons, various species of waterfowl, Red Fox, and White-tail deer can all be seen in the lake or along its shores. Lake Poinsett is the largest lake on Crowley’s Ridge, a landform of rolling hills that rises a few hundred feet and stretches 200 miles from Helena, Arkansas, up to southeast Missouri. Lake Poinsett State Park, situated on the western side of the lake, offers a free launch ramp with parking. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the park and park interpreters offer regular guided kayak tours. For details about Lake Poinsett State Park, call 870-578-2064 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/LakePoinsett.
Mammoth Spring State Park
Mammoth Spring, flowing at over nine million gallons of 58-degree water per hour, serves as the headwaters for the Spring River, which has been described as the state's most dependable natural stream. Kayaking and canoeing between Mammoth Spring and Hardy is excellent for beginning to intermediate paddlers, with crystal-clear water, long pools, Arkansas whitewater rafting, and natural scenery. For details about Mammoth Spring State Park, call 870-625-7364 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/MammothSpring.
Millwood State Park
Some of the best canoeing and lake kayaking in Arkansas isn't done on rivers, but on calm, quiet, timber-filled lakes such as Millwood, where fishing and birding opportunities abound. For details about Millwood State Park, call 870-898-2800 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/Millwood.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park
At the western edge of Arkansas's capital city, Pinnacle Mountain State Park includes upland peaks and bottomland forests teeming with wildlife along the Big and Little Maumelle rivers. Rising above the varied landscapes is 1,011-foot Pinnacle Mountain, the park's dominant natural feature, which has for centuries been a landmark for travelers on the adjacent Arkansas River. The park provides access to both the Big and Little Maumelle rivers. These slow-moving streams provide floaters a quiet getaway for hours of enjoyment. Fish for largemouth bass, catfish or bream. The rivers' peaceful waters are ideal for floaters because the park's diverse wildlife habitats include stands of baldcypress trees and lush wetlands. This is a place where kingfishers fly, white-tailed deer browse and wildflowers grow. Bring your own canoe or kayak, or rent a canoe from the state park. Each spring and fall the park's interpreters offer a variety of guided, 4 ½-mile canoe floats on the Little Maumelle River. These gentle cruises offer you the chance to learn about the local flora and fauna from your interpretive naturalist guide. For details about Pinnacle Mountain State Park, call 501-868-5806 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/PinnacleMountain.
Withrow Springs State Park
When the water level is up, paddlers enjoy canoeing on the War Eagle Creek at Withrow Springs State Park in northwest Arkansas. The park rents canoes and kayaks. These rentals are dependent of river levels. Contact the park to reserve a canoe or kayak and make arrangements for shuttle service provided by the park staff. For details about Withrow Springs State Park, call 479-559-2593 or visit: www.ArkansasStateParks.com/WithrowSprings.