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South Caddo Gap Glenwood
South Travel 4

Canoeing the Caddo River – Fun Floats for the Whole Family


Arkansas is home to several rivers with opportunities that will delight outdoor lovers. Most Arkansans are familiar with the Buffalo National River and the Spring River in the north part of the state as waterways for canoeing and kayaking. But toward the southwest region, the Caddo River flows out of the Ouachita Mountains, bringing with it plenty of recreation for floating and fishing.

The most popular section of this 84-mile river runs from Caddo Gap south to Glenwood where the waters are gentle enough for families and novice paddlers with a few Class I and II rapids thrown in for fun. The river also offers moderate moving waters just right for even the most novice paddler.

From Glenwood to Amity, the Caddo River runs a little slower and is a prime spot for fishing. Visitors will want to bring along the rod and reel for a chance to catch smallmouth and spotted bass, both in abundance in the 40 miles north of De Gray Lake. Stream-running walleye are plentiful and just above the lake, anglers will find white and hybrid striped bass in the early spring.

The Caddo offers a wide range of outdoor experiences. Float and fishing outfitters and campgrounds all along the river are gearing up for the busy season from March through October.

If you’re looking for a great river experience, check out one of these businesses that service the Caddo River area.

Caddo River Camping & Canoe – Glenwood

David and Gayla Claborn are committed to providing you with a fun and safe experience. They open for the season in early March and offer tubes, kayaks, canoes and shuttle services for their guests.

Their two camping areas are located right on the river and can accommodate tents, campers and RVs. Although they do not offer sewer or a dump station, they do have a bathhouse with full plumbing and hot showers. Several cabins, a yurt and a bunkhouse are also available.


Caddo River Rats Kayak and Tube Rental – Caddo Valley

Caddo River Rats is located in the lower section of the river below the dam on Degray Lake. They offer canoe, kayak, tube and cooler rentals along with shuttle service. The full trip usually takes around three hours, depending on water levels.

Due to their location below the dam, the rental business is at the mercy of water levels to provide a safe and fun float opportunity. Always call or check their Facebook page before heading out. Their season usually runs from mid-May until Labor Day Weekend.

(870) 345-2490

Arrowhead Cabins and Canoe – Caddo Gap

Whether you are looking for a cabin to rent with your hunting buddies or a place to cool off with a float trip in the summer, Arrowhead has you covered. They provide canoes, kayaks and tubes and shuttle service to several areas. Ask, and they will recommend the best course for your needs and skill level.

Arrowhead can accommodate overnight stays in one of their cabins or bunkhouses. They also offer full-service camping with water, sewer and electric hookups for RVs and campers. Tent sites are also available at Arrowhead and Glenwood.

Arrowhead is open year-round but requires advanced reservations.


If you’d like to turn your river trip into a full vacation you may want to check out these Arkansas attractions, all within an hour of Caddo River:

Hot Springs

Ron Coleman Mining

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Daisy State Park

Lake Greeson

DeGray Lake

Little Missouri Falls

All photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Used with permission.


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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and teaches art part-time at a local private school. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas where they raise chickens, farm hay and bake bread. Julie loves adventure and sharing it with her husband and son. They frequent the trails, campgrounds and parks of Arkansas, always on the hunt for new adventures and new stories to share. Learn more on her blog Seek Adventures Media.

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4 responses to “Canoeing the Caddo River – Fun Floats for the Whole Family”

  1. […] multi-sport festivals and one of the oldest triathlons in the state. Housed on a reservoir on the Caddo River in Arkansas, this beautiful lake and surrounding Ouachita Mountains near Hot Springs and Little […]

  2. […] Gap Creek – a spring-fed creek that is an upland tributary to the Caddo River. […]

  3. […] your canoe, kayak or tube, the Caddo River is a great choice for a relaxing float. The Caddo has few, if any, difficult sections so it is a […]

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