With spring in motion and summer on the horizon, it’s that time of the year to get some friends and hit the water with on an epic float trip! Arkansas is home to countless spots to beat the heat and enjoy the Natural States’ scenic wonders. With that in mind, we compiled a list of 8 amazing Arkansas float trips you’ve gotta go on! In no particular order, check them out below!
Middle Buffalo River – Map
America’s first ever national river, the Buffalo is the crown jewel of Arkansas.Tucked deep inside the Ozarks forest, floating this river is quite an adventure. The waters are crystal clear and the river carves through the forest with towering rock bluffs along side.
The river stretches 135 miles and is loaded with tons of different float options. Your adventure will deliver breathtaking scenic views at every bend of the river. The Middle Buffalo offers some of the best floats in the state, and the crew over at Buffalo River Outfitters has everything you’ll need for the perfect float – including an overnight trip down the buffalo that is an experience like none else!
Big Piney – Map
Big Piney Creek is the perfect floating option if you go to school at Arkansas Tech University, UCA or UAFS or live in their respective towns. In the heart of the Ozark National Forest, the scenery along the floats are amazing. Big Piney has a mix of rapids as well as relaxing stretches that make it a perfect creek to float.
There are plenty of places to pull off and hang out, which makes it a popular destination to take a group friends and family out on a float. When you do head out to float Big Piney, Moore Outdoors has everything you’ll need. Located in Dover, Moore’s has canoe, kayak, and raft rentals for a great time out on Big Piney.
Spring River – Map
The spring river is one of the absolute best year round floats in the state of Arkansas. The river is fed by Mammoth Springs which pumps water out at a crisp 58 degrees. PERFECT to beat the heat. Also known for great fishing, the float will take you through dense forest and the occasional rocky bluff lines.
The Spring River is almost always floatable, and exactly what you want to beat the heat this summer. Nothing beats crystal clear, cool, spring fed water, with friends and family. When you float the Spring, make sure and hit up Spring River Oak Campground for all your float trip needs. Located in Mammoth Springs, where the river begins, they’ve got you covered.
Mulberry River – Map
The Mulberry is known for having the most aesthetically pleasing blue green to emerald hue to its waters. The river is not very long, at only about 62 miles, however it offers several unique floats including rapids along the way. Depending on rainfall, the you’ll need to check on water levels to float it.
House-sized boulders and untamed scenery make the Mulberry a popular destination for all. The color of its water is second to none, and always leaves you wanting to come back for more. Turner Bend Outfitter is THE place you need to go when you wanna hit the Mulberry. They have all you’ll need for the best time out on the Mulberry!
Lower Buffalo River – Map
It’s that good we had to put it twice….Located in northern Arkansas, the Lower Buffalo is a stretch that contains some of Arkansas’s most scenic country. Perfect to get away from civilization, and revel in the true beauty of the Natural State.
Opposite from the other section of the Buffalo, the lower offers some amazing fishing. When making the trip out to the Lower Buffalo, the squad over at Buffalo River Float Service is where you’ll wanna go. With full service rentals and have multiple float trips to show you the greatness of the Lower Buffalo!
Caddo River – Map
The Caddo is a fairly short river at only about 40 miles in length. It’s considered a relatively calm float overall, with lower level rapids having to be strategically positioned for a swifter float. Its a perfect family or “chill” float. And being within the Ouachita National Forest, the scenery along the river is amazing.
The Caddo also provides great fishing and is considered one of the most underrated fishing spots in the state. The best months to float the Caddo are March through June, and when you do, look no further than Caddo River Camping and Canoe They have all you’ll need for a great time out on the Caddo.
Kings River – Map
The Kings River is loaded with Adventures. A float along the Kings will bring you past massive rock bluffs, shady tree-lined banks, crystal clear pools, and sloping gravel bars. Triggers Gap on the river, is formed by an old collapsed bridge, and creates not only white rapids that add some excitement to your float, but also one of the best swimming holes in the state.
At just over an hour from Fayetteville, it’s the perfect float if you go to school at University of Arkansas or live in NWA. When you do hit the Kings, make sure and stop by Triggers Gap Outfitters for all your floating services and the best floats on the river. Located in Eureka Springs along the banks of the river, they’re the go to outfitter for the Kings River.
White River – Map
The White River in Northern Arkansas is home so some of the best trout fishing in the country, pair that with the face that the water is ALWAYS ice cold, and you have one of the best spots to beat the heat on a float this summer. The White is floatable all summer, and has wildlife throughout.
A popular spot for fisherman, there are also countless cabins along the river to take a weekend along its banks. The White eventually runs and converges with the famous Buffalo River. To experience the White, head to Riley’s Station Family Outfitters. Situated along the banks, Riley’s has full service rentals, cabins, and their takeout for the float trip is where the White and Buffalo meet.
Bonus! Lake Ouachita – Map
Floating doesn’t always mean you’ll end up on a river, and Lake Ouachita makes the case. Known for its scenic beauty, natural shoreline, and clear waters, Lake Ouachita is the largest lake located entirely within Arkansas’ state borders and is an amazing spot explore.
Within the Ouachita National Forest, the scenery on Lake Ouachita is breathtaking, a sunset here is truly unique. Wildlife is abundant, the fishing is top notch, and islands are scattered about. When you plan on hitting Lake Ouachita, you definitely need to check out Ouachita Kayak Tours and they’ll make sure your time out on the lake is one of a kind.
There you have it, seven amazing floats to help you cool down as the weather warms up. Arkansas isn’t called the “Natural State” for nothing, it’s a beautiful place. Free up a weekend, hit up some friends, and plan your next float trip!
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