I’m really excited to have Mark of Kayak Guru writing the blog post for today. He writes about great places to kayak, canoe, and SUP in Arkansas. And because he has a different take than I, he writes about places I’m don’t usually float. So now I’m super stoked to explore news placing while floating in Arkansas.
By Mark of Kayak Guru
Arkansas isn’t called The Natural State for nothing. Nature is everywhere and that is why it can be a great place for outdoor sports, and particularly, watersports. Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, fishing, or something else, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Having a subtropical climate makes Arkansas an ideal place for year round paddling, the only difficulty should be in choosing where to go and what vessel to use. To give you a better idea of where the best spots are, we have compiled a guide to some of our favorite places to kayak, canoe, and SUP in Arkansas.
Kayaking And Canoeing In Arkansas
Buffalo National River
The Buffalo National River winds its way 135 miles through almost 95,000 acres of the scenic, protected land in the Ozarks in northern Arkansas. One of this river’s claims to fame is that it was the first national river in the USA, making it even more of a draw.
There are plenty of access points at various sections along the river. Each section offers different sights and scenery, as well as different paddling experiences, including slow moving sections and those featuring Class I and II rapids.
Kayak and canoe through deep forests and wild landscapes, including the 500 foot high Big Bluff, near Ponca and the Hemmed-in Hollow falls.
Big Piney Creek
Right in the heart of the Ozarks you’ll find Big Piney Creek, a 67 mile long river filled with a combination of relaxing stretches and exciting rapids, up to Class III.
This can be a great place for kayaking and canoeing, as you can paddle along, knowing there are plenty of places to stop along the way. You should find gravel bars dotted along the route, so you should be able to find a good spot for a picnic or simply to take a rest from the rapids.
The 10 mile section between Treat and Long Pool is where you’ll find some of the more well known rapids on the river, including Roller Coaster and Cascades of Extinction. So you should prepare yourself for a good run.
What About SUP?
This 28,370 acre lake is situated high up in the Ozark Mountains, surrounded by beautiful scenery, making this an excellent place to get out on your SUP.
With hundreds of miles of shoreline and plenty of inlets to explore, there is more than enough space for paddling. There are lots of beaches, campgrounds and picnic sites, which make this lake a great place to spend a whole day, or even more.
If you need to rent equipment there’s a SUP outfitters on the eastern side of the lake, in Eureka Springs.
Greers Ferry Lake
This large, 40,000 acre lake near the eastern edge of the Ozark National Forest can be a fantastic place for stand up paddle boarding. With calm, clear waters and swimming beaches, this can be a good place to get started, especially in the no wake zones around the marina and the swimming areas.
One of the highlights of this scenic lake is Sugar Loaf Mountain, an island in the lake. Here, you can paddle up to the lake’s shores, hop off your board and hike up the trail to take in even more scenery, from miles around, from the viewpoint 500 feet above the water.
Floating along the Mulberry River can be a relaxing trip. The 62 mile long river offers clear, turquoise blue waters, making your float trip all the more enjoyable. There are a number of different float trips of varying lengths and at various sections.
Rafts, kayaks and canoes are also available to rent nearby, with particular float trips on offer if you prefer.
The Cossatot River is one of Arkansas’s best whitewater rivers. Featuring rapids ranging from Class II up to Class V, depending on the water levels, this river can offer an exciting day out for rafters. This river can also be paddled by canoes and kayaks.
You will also find plenty of places to fish in Arkansas, including in the lakes and rivers we’ve already mentioned, where you’re most likely to find smallmouth bass.
For more from Mark: