|The Ouachita generally flows west to east through Montgomery County in west central Arkansas, near the Town of Mena, winding through towering rocky bluffs covered in wildflowers that adorn the riverbanks. From SH 88 between Acorn and Inks to Arkansas Highway 27, there are about 60 miles of river that are hospitable to almost every paddler 12 months a year, water levels permitting. The water is clean and clear with several moderate rapids, long flatwater pools, exceptional natural beauty along the banks and good fishing.
Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Ouachita River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.
The US Forest Service and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission maintain 7 public river access and day use sites along the river above Lake Ouachita. McGuire’s Access, Cherry Hill Access, Shirley Creek Day Use, Rocky Shoals Day Use, Fulton Branch Day Use, Dragover Day Use and River Bluff Day Use are all free public access/day use sites along the river. Amenities at the US Forest Service sites include picnic areas and sanitary facilities, but no drinking water is available. Primitive camping is allow on the Lake Ouachita, US Army Corps of Engineers, at "Car Body", just above the US Highway 27, near Highway 27 Fishing Village. The first developed campground on Lake Ouachita where the Ouachita River enters the lake is Highway 27 Fishing Village, with full camping amenities and cabin rentals available. A number of commercial campgrounds and conventional accommodations are located along the Ouachita River.
The Ouachita is a photographer's paradise. For the most part the Ouachita is a river that is safe for all able-bodied paddlers, but some dangers can arise after significant rains, when crooked, narrow rock channels flowing through rocky ledges and rocky terrain begin to fill. The REAL "danger" is getting there and finding the water too low to paddle, especially in mid-summer.
The Ouachita is a major river system in Arkansas fed by major tributaries that include the Caddo, Little Missouri, Moro and the Alum Fork, North Fork and Middle Fork of the Saline River (the OTHER Saline River in Arkansas - there are two of them!) The Ouachita and its tributaries are described separately at the links below.
[ SH 88 to SH 27 ] [ Remmel Dam to Arkadelphia ] [ Arkadelphia to Nix Ferry Road ] [ Nix Ferry Road to Camden ] [ Camden to US Highway 167 ] [ US Highway 167 to Moro Bay SP ]
[ Upper Caddo River ] [ Lower Caddo River ] [ Little Missouri River ] [ Moro Creek ]
[ Saline North Fork ] [ Saline Alum Fork ] [ Saline Middle Fork ] [ Lower Saline River ]