Arkansas River Water Trail

The Arkansas River from Great Bend, Kansas to the Kansas/Oklahoma border provides 192 miles of scenic water trail and riparian corridor wildlife habitat. The river meanders through the expansive prairie, rich pastures, and farmland, passing along many cities and small towns as it goes.

photo: The Wichita skyline from Lincoln Street. Type: National Water Trails System
Length: 192.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses: Boating, Motorized
Boating, non-motorized: Canoeing
Boating, non-motorized: Kayaking
Boating, non-motorized: Rafting
Camping
Fishing
Heritage and History
Hunting
Swimming
Wildlife Observation
Agency: State
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

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Directions

Location: The Arkansas River from Great Bend, Kansas to the Kansas/Oklahoma border
States: Kansas
Counties: Barton, Rice, Reno, Sedgwick, Sumner, Cowley
Latitude: 38.35205   Longitude: -98.76587

Please see attached documents for GPS locations and directions to each of the access points along the trail.

Description

A major tributary of the Mississippi River, the Arkansas River generally flows to the east and southeast, through the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. At 1,469 miles long, it is the sixth longest river in the United States and the second-longest tributary in the Mississippi-Missouri system. The earliest account of this river is to be found in the narratives of the Coronado Expedition of 1540-1541.

Rich with history, the Arkansas River is overflowing with educational and outdoor recreational opportunities. From scenic prairie views to sport fishing, from kayaking to duck and goose hunting, the Arkansas provides something exciting to visitors of all ages and interests.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), through mutual agreements with multiple parties, have developed this 192 miles of river water trail into a highly sought-after destination for adventure. KDWPT has spent more than 20 years developing access ramps, enhancing conservation programs and creating awareness of the water trail. Through the many partnerships that have been formed, this river water trail thrives because of the extensive recreation, education and restoration activities that take place. You can find more details about these activities later in this application.

While the Arkansas River in Kansas stretches from the Colorado border, the western-most portion of the river rarely holds enough water to navigate. Beginning at Great Bend, the flows of the river begin to reach seasonal flows sufficient for paddling. By nature, prairie streams and rivers are prone to drought and flooding with varied seasonal precipitation.

Additional Details

Primary Surface: Not Available
Secondary Surface: Rock, smooth
Water, still

Average Grade: 0%
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Year Designated: 2016

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Brochure: Corridor Access Plan
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Map: Simple map of the Water Trail.
Other: Other
Website: The Arkansas River Water Trail

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Public Contact:
Jessica Mounts
Fisheries & Wildlife Biologist
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism
21514 S. Yoder Road
Pretty Prairie , KS 67570
(620) 459-6922
jessica.mounts@ksoutdoors.com

 

Photos

A family canoes on the Arkansas River.

A family canoes on the Arkansas River.

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