Arkansas Water Trails 

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Program Overview

Paddling sports are among the fastest growing recreational activities in the United States. Arkansas Water Trails develops public paddling trails throughout the state, creating well-mapped accessible day trips in a variety of settings and for all levels of paddling experience.

Arkansas has many miles of rivers, streams and bayous, much of which is perfect for floating. Paddling in The Natural State provides opportunity to land a smallmouth bass, meander through a cypress swamp and make a run through rugged white water.

Paddling Laws and Ethics

Canoes, Kayaks, Inner Tubes and other craft succeptable to swamping require special regulations and ethical considerations. Click here to familiarize yourself with these guidelines before grabbing a paddle to relax.

Established Water Trails

Trails are added to the program as site assessments are completed and maps are developed. Please check back regularly for the most up-to-date information.

Develop a Water Trail

Arkansas Water Trails are an exciting way for landowners and communities to conserve habitat while providing recreational opportunities for the public. Water trails promote sustainable economic development and build public support for conservation of waterways and wildlife.

Ways the AGFC Can HelpCanoeing

  • Promote your water trail as a part of the Arkansas Water Trails program.
  • Provide information panel inserts and replacements for approved kiosks and access points.
  • Provide official AWT route markers.
  • Develop trail maps and interpretive information to be used in marketing materials.
  • Provide conservation and ethics information to be used in marketing materials.

Water Trail Requirements

  • Public access must be at least one paddling mile and no more than 12 paddling miles for each segment.
  • Each public access must have designated parking.
  • There must be adequate water quality, river flows and depth (seasonal flows acceptable).
  • The trail must be a contiguous or semi-contiguous waterway or series of waterways open to recreational use by paddlers.
  • Local partners must be available to maintain and clean the trail corridor and access points.
  • Local partners provide approved kiosk for information panels.
  • A population center within 100 miles is preferred.
  • Canoe and kayak rentals available from local sources is preferred.
  • Presence of natural or historical attractions such as interesting habitat, wildlife diversity and historic sites is required. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Click "Answer" to show the answer.

How long does it take to paddle a trail?

Arkansas Water Trails are designed to be day trips. They can be as short as a couple of hours or as long as you wish to make them, depending on how many stops you make for wildlife-watching, fishing and exploring.

In still water, you can generally expect to travel 1 to 2 miles per hour. However, river flows and water levels can alter the duration of your trip. Paddling against the flow takes more time, while paddling with the flow can shorten the trip dramatically. For information on streamflow, visit USGS Real-Time Water Data For Arkansas

How do I determine optimum flow conditions of a water trail?

When water levels and flows are low, man-made obstructions, log jams and snags increase and may render a water trail inaccessible. Low water can also diminish water quality.

Heavy rain may cause flash floods or other dangerous conditions. Flood stage occurs when there are high water levels and high flows. Make sure that your water skills and experience are equal to the river and the conditions.

The AGFC will provide as much information as possible on this Web site, but you must keep your skill level in mind when determining your ability to safely travel a body of water. Use this information at your own risk.

To determine current conditions and trip times, contact a local canoe rental business, if available. Also, check the Arkansas Canoe Club’s web site for recommended water levels on certain rivers and creeks in the state.

What days are the trails open?

Paddling trails are open seven days a week. However, some access sites may have park curfews. Check individual sites to determine their business hours.

Are canoe/kayak rentals and shuttles available on-site?

Canoe and kayak rentals are sometimes available on-site or in a nearby community. Check individual sites to determine if they have rental or shuttle services.

The AGFC makes every effort to keep rentals and shuttle information up to date on its Web site, but it is your responsibility to call ahead and be sure these businesses are still open for business.

Does AGFC endorse canoe and kayak rentals and shuttles listed on this site?

All canoe and kayak rental and shuttle information on this site has been provided by the listed facilities. The AGFC does not attest to its accuracy or correctness. Furthermore, the AGFC in no way supports or endorses the listed facilities, and the agency disclaims that the listed facilities are appropriate for your particular purposes.

How will I know where the take-out is on an Arkansas Water Trail?

If available, you may ask a local canoe rental business. Information for all of a water trail’s access points (including landmarks) is listed on this Web site as well as at each put-in and take-out site.

Print out a copy of the trail map from this Web site and bring it with you to the trail. When leaving a shuttle vehicle at the take-out, walk to the take-out to look at surrounding landmarks so that you will recognize it from the water. It is also a good idea to take a GPS coordinate at the take-out.

Where can we park our car(s) while we paddle a section of a water trail? How do we plan a shuttle?

Parking is available at all trail access points and is free unless otherwise noted. If traveling with multiple cars, you should meet at the downstream take-out and park a vehicle that will be waiting for you at the end of your trip. If traveling in one vehicle, paddle upstream, and turn around when you’re ready to paddle back downstream to your vehicle.

How do I get my rental or shuttle business listed on the AGFC directory?
If your canoe/kayak rental or shuttle business services an Arkansas Water Trail, please send your name, the business name, address, phone number, Web site (if applicable), services you provide (rentals only or rentals and shuttles) and the paddling trail you service to the AGFC Watchable Wildlife Coordinator.
What should I bring?

A life jacket is required for each person in the boat. Children 12 and under must wear their life jackets any time they are on board the boat.

If you shuttle using a vehicle at both the put-in and take-out points, make sure you bring your keys for the take-out vehicle. A great paddling trip can be spoiled when you realize that your car keys were left at the put-in.

Recommended equipment includes map, GPS unit, food, water, sunscreen, footwear (water sandals or wading boots), a shirt for sun protection, a cap or sun hat, insect repellant, sunglasses, ID and a trash bag.

You may also want to bring a camera, binoculars, cell phone and dry bag, fire starter, fishing gear and license, knife, paddling gloves, rain gear, toilet paper and baggies, waterproof flashlight and extra batteries, and extra lines or tie-downs.

Can I picnic on the river bank?

Plan your stops on public land. Please respect private property along navigable streams by staying on the river. Private property may be marked by fences, signs or purple paint. Avoid stopping on private property whenever possible and keep noise levels low.

Program Staff

NameTitlePhone | Email
Kirsten BartlowWatchable Wildlife Coordinator501-223-6473 | Email