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