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.