5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Arkansas

By Kerrie Johnston

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Arkansas

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Kayaking is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise at the same time. Beginners usually look for spots to kayak that have slow-moving waters with few obstacles and courses that are easy to navigate. If you’re feeling particularly uneasy about the start of your adventure, bring along an experienced kayaker to guide the way. Arkansas’ uncommon beauty naturally provides the perfect scenery for any kayaking journey. Here are some great spots for beginners to get their feet wet in Arkansas! 

1. Buffalo National River

The well-known 135-mile long Buffalo National River in North Arkansas was the first national river in the U.S. and remains a beautiful place to kayak. These remarkable waters flow out of the Boston Mountains division of the ancient Ozarks, eventually merging with the White River. Although not quite as scenic as some other parts of the river, the 10-mile stretch between Arkansas 7 and Highway 123 offers the perfect spot for beginners and families to kayak, canoe, and float.

See you on the Buffalo, bro

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2. Big Piney Creek

Flowing through the heart of Ozark country, Big Piney Creek has a reputation for being one of the best float streams in Arkansas. Featuring a mix of recreational opportunities, this classic creek is well-known for its 67-miles of cool, clear, and lively waters. This creek offers kayakers a variety of scenery with differing levels of water movement. Beginners should be aware of the third section of the Big Piney Creek, the Treat to Long Pool float, as the rapids in this section are known by names like “Roller Coaster” and “Cascades of Extinction.”

3. Ouachita River

Beginning at the base of Rich Mountain, the well-known Ouachita River winds itself through the naturally beautiful Ouachita Mountain area. The 10-mile section from Oden to Rocky Shoals Campground at the U.S. 270 crossing is one of the most popular spots on this remarkable stream. Many consider the breathtaking scenery along this section of the Ouachita River to be one of the best views in the Natural State.

4. Kings River

The Kings River flows along the Arkansas-Missouri border and offers a unique kayaking experience due to its rich history. The Kings River is so naturally unique that it was the first river in Arkansas to receive governmental protection through legislation passed by the 1971 General Assembly. The most popular kayaking spots on Kings River are the 11-mile stretch from Marble to Marshall Ford and the 15-mile stretch from Marshall Ford to Rockhouse.

5. Siloam Springs Kayak Park, Siloam Springs, AR

This interesting kayak park is a beautiful amenity just south of the city of Siloam Springs that is designed for kayakers to best enjoy rapids between 200 and 600 cubic feet per second. Situated along the beautiful Illinois River, the Siloam Springs Kayak Park features engineered rapids and a shoreline that has been altered in some areas. Unless the waters reach an unsafe level, the park is open all day and is free to all users. 

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