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Beautiful Spots along the Caddo River

The south fork of the Caddo River near Glenwood (Pike County);
                                             Photo by Brian C. Westfall, courtesy of the photographer

Bends in the River

The Caddo itself is peaceful-- at least in most places. But to prevent paddlers from becoming too complacent, a handful of faster rapids (class I/class II) have been strategically placed in the stream. The river also features some top-notch gravel bars--ideal places to stop, lean back, and contemplate the mysteries of moving water.

While the Caddo River is "floatable" above Norman (the water has to be high, and it's a very fast float), most float trips on the stream's upper reaches begin at the southwest edge of this small town. The eight-mile float down to Caddo Gap is scenic, but is possible only after extended periods of rainfall.

Caddo Gap to Glenwood

Probably the most popular Caddo River float trip is the six-mile journey from Caddo Gap to Glenwood. One highlight is a swinging footbridge over the river at the put-in (the low-water bridge west of the Caddo Gap community) which, for safety's sake, should be appreciated from below. Rock gardens are common along this stretch and can cause consternation when the water's low. The actual "gap" for the Caddo occurs about a mile and a half into the float trip (just above the Arkansas 240 bridge). At this point the river passes through a narrow opening between the ridges, and so do Arkansas 8 and the railroad--all three bunched closely together. The gap is also the site of a geological oddity: some hot springs bubble up into the streambed here (for those wishing to experience these thermal waters, here are some rough directions: go upstream 200-300 yards from the old low-water bridge; springs will be on the west bank, and are usually at or below the river's surface; barefoot waders will have no trouble recognizing the spot!). Two-and-a-half miles later, the Caddo's South Fork enters from the west. Small rapids, long gravel bars, and an occasional willow thicket characterize the stream as it approaches Glenwood.

Glenwood to Rosboro

Glenwood to Amity

The float trip from Glenwood to Amity is a slower version of the upper sections. Pools are longer, and the rapids lose some of their intensity. Yet it's a fine, float trip, perfectly suited for those wishing to gain encouraging experience in a canoe.

 

 

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