Little Maumelle

Your Favorite Arkansas Rivers

The Community Bicyclist

The river system in Arkansas is extensive and includes several major rivers, as well as numerous smaller streams and tributaries. The largest river in Arkansas is the Mississippi River, which forms the state’s eastern border and is a major commercial shipping route.

Other significant rivers in Arkansas include the Arkansas River, which flows through the center of the state and provides important transportation and recreation opportunities; the White River, which flows through the Ozarks and is a popular destination for fishing and boating; and the Ouachita River, which runs through the southern part of the state and is known for its scenic beauty.

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Overall, Arkansas has over 9,700 miles of rivers and streams, which provide important habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species and support numerous outdoor recreational activities.

Last month we dared to ask you about your favorite Arkansas floats. It’s floating season and time to clean the bird nests out of the hulls and get those boats wet. We asked each of you for your 3 favorite floats and once we got the results, we decided to break them down to the top 5.

#5 – Caddo and Mulberry Rivers – tied with 5.6% of the vote each

Caddo River

Floating the Caddo River.

Floating the Caddo River.The Caddo River is 82 miles long and located in southwestern Arkansas. It starts in the Ouachita Mountains and flows southeast into DeGray Lake, before continuing eastward and eventually joining the Ouachita River near Arkadelphia. The Caddo River is known for its scenic beauty, and it is a popular destination for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and camping.

The river is named after the Caddo Native American tribe, who once inhabited the region. The Caddo people lived in villages along the river, and they relied on its waters for fishing, transportation, and agriculture. Today, the Caddo River is still an important resource for the local communities and is protected by state and federal laws.

The Caddo is also home to a diverse range of aquatic wildlife, including several species of fish, turtles, and birds. Some of the most common fish found in the river include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish. The river is also home to several rare and endangered species, such as the Ouachita rock pocketbook mussel and the Ozark cavefish.

Mulberry River

A trip down the Mulberry River.

A trip down the Mulberry River.The Mulberry River is a 70-mile-long river located in northwestern Arkansas. It flows through the Ozark National Forest and is known for its clear waters, scenic beauty, and recreational opportunities. The Mulberry River is a popular destination for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and camping.

The river originates in the Boston Mountains and flows southeastward, eventually joining the Arkansas River near the town of Mulberry. The Mulberry is considered one of the best whitewater rivers in Arkansas, with Class I to Class III rapids depending on water levels. The river is also home to a variety of fish species, including smallmouth bass, rock bass, and channel catfish.

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The Mulberry River area is also known for its hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Ozark National Forest, which surrounds the river, offers a range of outdoor recreation opportunities, including camping, hunting, and backpacking.

#4 – Kings River 6.5% of the vote

Waterfall on the Kings River.

Waterfall on the Kings River.The Kings River is 90 miles long and located in northwestern Arkansas. It is a tributary of the White River and is known for its clear waters, scenic beauty, and recreational opportunities. The Kings River is a popular destination for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and camping.

The river originates in the Boston Mountains and flows northeastward, eventually joining the White River near the town of Eureka Springs. The Kings River is considered one of the most scenic rivers in Arkansas, with limestone bluffs, clear pools, and fast riffles. The river is also home to a variety of fish species, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and Ozark bass.

The River area is also known for its hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Ozark National Forest, which surrounds the river, offers a range of outdoor recreation opportunities, including camping, hunting, and backpacking.

#3 – Ouachita River – 7.4% of the vote

A group float on the Ouachita River above Rockport Ledge.

A group float on the Ouachita River above Rockport Ledge.The Ouachita River flows 605 miles through Arkansas and Louisiana. It originates in the Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas and flows southeastward, eventually joining the Black River near Jonesville, Louisiana, to form the Tensas River, which ultimately flows into the Mississippi River.

The Ouachita is an important natural resource in Arkansas and is known for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. The river is home to a variety of fish species, including catfish, bass, crappie, and bream, making it a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. Additionally, the river offers opportunities for boating, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming.

The Ouachita River area is also home to numerous campgrounds, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Ouachita National Forest, which surrounds much of the river, offers a range of outdoor recreation opportunities, including camping, hunting, and backpacking. The river and surrounding area are also rich in history, with numerous sites related to the area’s Native American and European settlements.

#2 – Big Piney Creek – 10.2% of the vote

The beautiful Big Piney Creek.

The beautiful Big Piney Creek.Big Piney Creek is a scenic waterway located in the Ozark National Forest of northwest Arkansas. The creek flows for about 67 miles through rugged terrain, offering visitors stunning views of bluffs, waterfalls, and forests.

Big Piney Creek is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, with opportunities for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and hiking. The creek is home to a variety of fish species, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and trout. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy fly fishing or spin fishing along the creek’s many riffles, pools, and deep runs.

Kayakers and canoers can take on the creek’s challenging rapids, which range in difficulty from Class I to Class III. The creek is known for its clear, cold water, which makes it a refreshing place to swim or simply cool off on a hot summer day.

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Hikers can explore the many trails that wind through the rugged hills and forests along the creek. The Ozark Highlands Trail, which stretches for over 200 miles through the Ozark Mountains, passes through the Big Piney Creek area.

Camping is also a popular activity along Big Piney Creek. There are several campgrounds located along the creek, ranging from primitive sites to fully-equipped facilities with RV hookups and other amenities.

Big Piney Creek is a beautiful and diverse natural resource in Arkansas, offering visitors a wide range of recreational opportunities and stunning scenery to enjoy. It is a true gem of the Ozarks and a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors.

#1 – Buffalo National River – 21.37% of the vote

The joy of the Buffalo National River.

The joy of the Buffalo National River.The Buffalo National River is a 153-mile-long river located in northern Arkansas and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the contiguous United States. The river flows through the Ozark Mountains, and is surrounded by forests, bluffs, and rugged terrain, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The Buffalo was the first National River in the country.

The Buffalo River area is known for its scenic beauty, with towering limestone cliffs, clear water, and an abundance of wildlife. The river is home to a variety of fish species, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and catfish, making it a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts.

The Buffalo National River also offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and tubing. The river is divided into three sections, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges. The upper section of the river is known for its clear water and Class I-II rapids, making it a great destination for families and beginners. The middle section of the river is more challenging, with Class II-III rapids and deeper pools. The lower section of the river is calmer, with slow-moving water and sandy beaches, making it a popular destination for swimming and relaxing.

In addition to its recreational opportunities, the Buffalo National River area is also rich in history and culture. The river valley was home to Native American tribes for thousands of years, and evidence of their presence can still be seen in the many archaeological sites and rock art panels throughout the area. European settlers also made their homes in the river valley, and many historic sites, such as the Erbie Church and the Rush Historic District, can be visited today.

Overall, the Buffalo National River is a beautiful and important natural resource in Arkansas, offering visitors a wide range of recreational opportunities, as well as a glimpse into the area’s rich history and culture. The river is managed by the National Park Service, and is protected as a national park, ensuring that it will remain a treasured destination for generations to come.

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