Ready to embark on an exciting kayaking adventure? Look no further than Arkansas, where you’ll find some of the most breathtaking and serene kayaking spots in the United States. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, Arkansas offers a diverse range of rivers, lakes, and streams that are perfect for paddling enthusiasts. From the crystal-clear waters of the Buffalo National River, known for its dramatic cliffs and peaceful surrounds, to the challenging rapids of the Mulberry River, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Get ready to paddle your way through stunning natural landscapes, spot incredible wildlife, and create unforgettable memories on the best kayaking spots in Arkansas.
1. Buffalo National River
1.1 Upper Buffalo River
The Upper Buffalo River is a haven for kayakers looking to experience the beauty of the wilderness. With its crystal-clear waters and towering bluffs, this section of the Buffalo National River is truly a sight to behold. As you paddle through the tranquil waters, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and an abundance of wildlife. It’s the perfect spot to reconnect with nature and enjoy a peaceful kayaking adventure.
1.2 Lower Buffalo River
The Lower Buffalo River offers a different kayaking experience, with its wider and slower-moving waters. This section is ideal for beginners or those looking for a more relaxed kayaking trip. As you make your way down the river, you’ll be treated to picturesque landscapes and breathtaking views. Keep an eye out for the diverse bird species that inhabit this area, as well as other wildlife like deer and turtles.
1.3 Steel Creek to Kyle’s Landing
One of the most popular stretches of the Buffalo National River for kayaking is the section from Steel Creek to Kyle’s Landing. This 12-mile stretch offers a mix of mild rapids and calm pools, providing a fun and exciting kayaking experience for all skill levels. Along the way, you’ll be surrounded by towering bluffs and scenic landscapes, making it a truly unforgettable journey.
1.4 Ponca to Kyle’s Landing
For those seeking a more challenging kayaking adventure, the section from Ponca to Kyle’s Landing is a great choice. This 10-mile stretch features Class I and II rapids, giving kayakers an exhilarating ride down the river. As you navigate through the rapids, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Ozark Mountains and opportunities to spot wildlife along the banks.
1.5 Buffalo Point to Rush
The section from Buffalo Point to Rush offers kayakers a chance to explore the eastern part of the Buffalo National River. With its calm waters and beautiful scenery, this stretch is perfect for a leisurely paddle. Take your time to soak in the surrounding natural beauty, and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning views.
1.6 Woolum to Buffalo City
If you’re looking for a longer kayaking adventure, the section from Woolum to Buffalo City is worth considering. This 27-mile stretch offers a more remote and secluded experience, as you make your way through rugged landscapes and quiet backwaters. It’s a true wilderness experience that immerses you in the untouched beauty of the Buffalo National River.
2. Mulberry River
2.1 Upper Mulberry River
The Upper Mulberry River is known for its challenging rapids and thrilling kayaking opportunities. With Class II and III rapids, this section is recommended for experienced kayakers who are up for an adrenaline-filled adventure. As you paddle down the river, you’ll be surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Ozark National Forest, with its dense foliage and stunning rock formations.
2.2 Lower Mulberry River
For a more relaxed kayaking experience, the Lower Mulberry River is a great choice. This section offers slower-moving waters and less challenging rapids, making it suitable for kayakers of all skill levels. Enjoy a peaceful paddle as you take in the picturesque landscapes and listen to the sounds of nature.
2.3 Turner Bend to Rock Hole
The stretch of the Mulberry River from Turner Bend to Rock Hole is a popular choice among kayakers. This 8-mile section features a mix of calm pools and exciting Class II rapids, providing a diverse and enjoyable kayaking experience. Along the way, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding hills and cliffs, creating a truly unforgettable journey.
2.4 Rock Hole to Campbell Cemetery
For a longer kayaking trip on the Mulberry River, consider paddling from Rock Hole to Campbell Cemetery. This 12-mile stretch offers a mix of calm sections and challenging rapids, providing a balanced and thrilling experience. As you navigate through the twists and turns of the river, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the lush greenery that surrounds you.
2.5 Campbell Cemetery to Leatherwood Creek
The section from Campbell Cemetery to Leatherwood Creek is a scenic and remote stretch of the Mulberry River. This 10-mile section offers a peaceful and secluded kayaking experience, as you make your way through pristine wilderness. Enjoy the tranquility of the river, and keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls this area home.
3. Little Red River
3.1 Greers Ferry Lake to Pangburn
The Little Red River is a popular destination for kayakers looking for a combination of recreational kayaking and fishing. The stretch from Greers Ferry Lake to Pangburn is a great starting point for an enjoyable kayaking adventure. As you paddle downstream, you’ll have the opportunity to cast your line and try your luck at catching trout, making it a great option for fishing enthusiasts.
3.2 Pangburn to Searcy
For a longer kayaking trip on the Little Red River, consider paddling from Pangburn to Searcy. This 18-mile stretch offers a mix of tranquil waters and slow-moving rapids, providing a diverse and scenic kayaking experience. As you navigate through the river, you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of central Arkansas, creating a truly immersive journey.
3.3 Searcy to Judsonia
The section from Searcy to Judsonia is another great choice for kayakers looking for a relaxing paddle on the Little Red River. This 12-mile stretch offers mostly calm waters, allowing you to unwind and soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Take your time to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and keep an eye out for the abundant birdlife that can be spotted along the riverbanks.
3.4 Judsonia to Bald Knob
From Judsonia to Bald Knob, kayakers can enjoy a mix of calm stretches and Class I rapids on the Little Red River. This 8-mile section offers an engaging and enjoyable kayaking experience, perfect for intermediate paddlers. As you navigate through the rapids, you’ll have the opportunity to test your skills and experience the thrill of whitewater kayaking in a scenic setting.
3.5 Bald Knob to West Point
The final section of the Little Red River, from Bald Knob to West Point, offers a peaceful and scenic kayaking experience. As you paddle downstream, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the riverbanks lined with towering trees and an abundance of wildlife. Take your time to appreciate the tranquility of the river and bask in the natural wonders of the Arkansas countryside.
This is just the beginning of the best kayaking spots in Arkansas. Stay tuned for more exciting destinations in the next part of this article!