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How to Float the Caddo Valley River in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

How to Float the Caddo River in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to float the Caddo River in Arkadelphia, Arkansas! If you're an adventure seeker or a nature enthusiast looking to explore the beauty of Arkansas, floating the Caddo River is an experience you don't want to miss. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to plan and enjoy a successful river float trip. From choosing the right equipment to understanding river conditions, safety guidelines, and frequently asked questions, we've got you covered. So grab your paddle, put on your sunscreen, and let's dive into the world of floating the Caddo River!

Why Choose the Caddo River for Floating?

The Caddo River, located near Arkadelphia, Arkansas, is a popular destination for river floating enthusiasts. With its scenic beauty, calm waters, and gentle currents, the Caddo River offers an ideal setting for a relaxing and enjoyable float trip. Whether you're looking to spend quality time with friends and family or seeking a solo adventure, floating the Caddo River is an excellent choice.

Planning Your Float Trip

Best Time to Float the Caddo River

The best time to float the Caddo River is during the spring, summer, and early fall months when the weather is pleasant, and the water levels are suitable for floating. The peak season for floating typically falls between May and September, offering warm temperatures and an abundance of sunshine. However, it's important to check the weather forecast and river conditions before planning your trip, as heavy rainfall can cause water levels to rise rapidly.

Choosing the Right Equipment

To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable float trip on the Caddo River, it's essential to choose the right equipment. Here are the key items you'll need:

  1. Float Tubes or Kayaks: Select a float tube or kayak that suits your preferences and experience level. Kayaks are ideal for solo or tandem trips, while float tubes offer a more relaxed and laid-back experience.

  2. Paddles or Oars: Depending on the type of vessel you choose, make sure to have paddles or oars for navigation.

  3. Life Jackets: Always prioritize safety and wear a properly fitting life jacket throughout your float trip. It's essential for everyone in your group to have a life jacket.

  4. Dry Bags or Waterproof Containers: Protect your belongings, such as phones, keys, and snacks, by storing them in dry bags or waterproof containers.

  5. Sunscreen and Hat: Shield yourself from the sun's rays by applying sunscreen and wearing a hat. It's important to reapply sunscreen regularly, especially if you're on the river for an extended period.

  6. Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated by bringing an ample supply of water and pack some snacks to keep your energy levels up during the float trip.

  7. Water Shoes or Sandals: Opt for water shoes or sandals that can get wet and provide good traction on slippery river rocks.

River Access Points

The Caddo River offers several access points where you can start and end your float trip. Some popular access points include:

  1. Caddo Gap Access: Located near Caddo Gap, this access point provides easy entry into the river. It's a convenient starting point for shorter floats.

  2. Glenwood Access: Situated near the town of Glenwood, this access point offers ample parking space and facilities. It's a popular choice for longer float trips.

  3. Amity Access: Found near the town of Amity, this access point allows you to enjoy a scenic float with easy access and parking facilities.

Research the access points and choose the one that best fits your desired float distance and trip duration.

Navigating the Caddo River

When floating the Caddo River, it's important to understand the river's flow and navigate it safely. Here are a few tips:

  1. Follow the Current: Stay in the main current of the river to maintain a steady pace and avoid getting stuck on shallow areas.

  2. Avoid Strainers: Strainers are fallen trees or debris that can trap and obstruct your passage. Always steer clear of strainers and never attempt to float through or under them.

  3. Watch for Obstacles: Keep an eye out for rocks, logs, or other obstacles that may be submerged beneath the water's surface. Maneuver your vessel accordingly to avoid collisions.

River Conditions and Safety

Understanding River Levels

Monitoring the river levels is crucial for a safe and enjoyable float trip. The Caddo River is known for its gentle currents, but heavy rainfall can cause water levels to rise quickly. Check the river levels before your trip by visiting the website of the U.S. Geological Survey or contacting local outfitters for the most up-to-date information.

Safety Guidelines

To ensure a safe float trip on the Caddo River, follow these guidelines:

  1. Wear Life Jackets: Always wear a properly fitting life jacket while on the river. It's not only a legal requirement but also a vital safety precaution.

  2. Float in Groups: Whenever possible, float with a group of friends or family members. In case of emergencies, having others nearby can provide assistance and support.

  3. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the trip to stay hydrated, especially during hot summer months.

  4. Leave No Trace: Respect the natural environment by packing out all trash and minimizing your impact on the river and its surroundings.

  5. Respect Private Property: Stay within public access areas and avoid trespassing on private property along the riverbanks.

FAQs about Floating the Caddo River

How long does it take to float the Caddo River?

The duration of a float trip on the Caddo River depends on various factors, including the chosen access point, river conditions, and your preferred pace. On average, a float trip can range from a few hours to a full day.

Is it necessary to wear a life jacket while floating the river?

Yes, it is essential to wear a life jacket at all times during your float trip. Even though the Caddo River has gentle currents, unexpected situations can occur, and a life jacket can save lives.

Are there any age restrictions for floating the Caddo River?

There are no specific age restrictions for floating the Caddo River. However, it's important to ensure that children and inexperienced swimmers are equipped with appropriate safety gear and accompanied by responsible adults.

Can I bring my own equipment or do I need to rent it?

You have the option to bring your own equipment or rent it from local outfitters. If you choose to bring your own, ensure that it is suitable for river floating and in good condition.

Are there any rapids or challenging sections on the Caddo River?

The Caddo River is known for its gentle currents and lacks significant rapids or challenging sections. It offers a relaxing and leisurely floating experience, suitable for all skill levels.

What should I pack for a float trip on the Caddo River?

Pack essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, a waterproof bag for personal belongings, and appropriate footwear. It's also advisable to bring a first-aid kit and a portable phone charger for emergencies.


Floating the Caddo River in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, is a delightful adventure that allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while enjoying a leisurely journey downstream. By planning your float trip carefully, choosing the right equipment, and following safety guidelines, you can have a memorable and enjoyable experience on the Caddo River. So grab your friends, prepare your gear, and get ready to embark on a fantastic river float trip that you'll cherish for years to come!

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