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Little River, Arkansas
Report by Marc W. McCord

Millwood Lake Dam Access to US Highway 67 in Fulton
~ 18.5 Miles

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SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

General Description

The Little River forms in LeFlore County, Oklahoma in the very remote Kiamichi Mountains just west of the Ouachita National Forest, then flows southwest before turning south at Nashoba in Pushmataha County. The river is dammed below SH 3 in McCurtain County to form Pine Creek Lake from which it flows south through Wright City, turning east just below there and flowing south of Broken Bow along the northern boundry of Ouachita National Forest and on into Arkansas just south of Horatio in Sevier County. It then flows southeastward under US Highway 71 into Howard County where it is again dammed to form Millwood Lake. Arkansas' fabled Cossatot River flows into the Little River just above the lake on the west side of US Highway 71. The river continues in a southeast direction to the Red River confluence between McNab and IH 30 at Fulton in Hempstead County.

Below Millwood Lake the Little River flows about 17.6 miles to the Red River confluence on the western edge of Fulton, and then on down to three possible access points in Fulton, the last being under the US Highway 67 bridge at about 18.5 miles. Texarkana is less than 20 miles to the southwest and Little Rock is about 125 miles to the northeast. The river flows as a flatwater stream of immense natural beauty through rural Hempstead County a few miles southwest of Old Washington Historical State Park. This reach is an easy run that is well suited for paddlers of all experience levels, offering no hazards or whitewater excitement. Flows are regulated by releases at Millwood Dam, so the river is usually navigable. Trips can end at either the Hempstead County (dirt) Road on river left, under the railroad bridge on river right or US Highway 67 bridge on river right just below the Red River confluence. Paddlers can also continue on downriver on the Red to any access point on that stream in Arkansas or Louisiana. There are no river-related services along this reach of the Little River, so paddlers need to be fully outfitted with everything they need for boating the river in canoes or kayaks. Rafts can run this river, but the going will be slow and uneventful.

This reach of the Little and Red Rivers is characterized by gently sloping, heavily vegetated banks until it approaches the Red River where a huge sand bar peninsula deparates the two rivers just above the confluence. The small town of Fulton is located on river left just below the confluence and the approach to Fulton is a tree-lined river bank on both sides. Surrounding land is either forested or farmland. American alligators are known to inhabit the Lower Little and Red Rivers, but they are generally very timid and non-threatening to humans, though they may be less hospitable toward Fido.


Hempstead County just northeast of Texarkana and ending southwest of Hope near IH 30 and US Highway 67. Millwood Lake State Park is located above the dam at the put-in, and Old Washington Historical State Park is near the take-out to the northeast.

Distance from major cities

Little Rock 170 miles; Texarkana 25 miles; Fort Smith 155 miles; Oklahoma City 325 miles; Dallas 206 miles; Austin 401 miles; San Antonio 480 miles; Houston 314 miles; Kansas City 476 miles; Albuquerque 871 miles; Phoenix 1,208 miles; Denver 950 miles; Salt Lake City 1,426 miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination point on the river and route taken.)

Water Quality and Flow Rates

Water quality is usually very good to excellent flowing clean, clear and cool from Millwood Lake to the Red River. Navigable flows are dam-release dependent, and the rivers normally have adequate water for paddling canoes, kayaks and rafts. Typically, there is a minimal release at Millwood Lake Dam, so the likelihood of significant releases only occurs after heavy local rainfall in the drainage basin sends lake levels close to conservation level. Check with local USACE or Arkansas State Park Rangers for current conditions on and below the lake.

Best Times to Go

This reach of the Little River almost always has adequate flow for boating. The best combination of weather and flow will be found in spring and fall months.

Hazards to Navigation

There are no major hazards to navigation on this reach of the Little River. It is runnable by paddlers with limited experience.

River Access Points

Below Millwood Dam (N 33° 41' 14.01" / W 093° 57' 49.80") at Millwood Lake State Park on river right just below SH 32 at 0.0 miles; Yellow Creek Road Access (N33° 38' 47.63" / W 093&3176 54' 08.78") above the railroad tracks on river right off CR 304 at about 7.8 miles; Allen's Ferry Road Access (N 33° 37' 14.86" / 093° 51' 39.58") off CR 190 on river left at about 14.5 miles; Hempstead County (dirt) Road (N 33° 36' 48.77" / W 093° 49' 02.19") in Fulton on the Red River just below the confuence on river left at about 18.1 miles; Beneath the railroad bridge (N 33° 36' 39.14" / 093° 48' 56.91") off Little River Street on river left at about 18.3 miles; US Highway 67 bridge (N 33° 36' 26.99" / 093° 48' 52.60") on the Red River in Fulton on river right at about 18.5 miles.

Campgrounds and Accommodations

Millwood State Park on Millwood Lake just above the dam offers excellent camping facilities and is close to the river access just below the dam. USACE operates several parks around the lake that offer overnight camping and various amenities. There are no campgrounds along this reach of the river. The short distance and close proximity to Texarkana make this a perfect day trip.

Liveries, outfitters and shuttle services

There are no outfitters located along this reach of the Little River. There may be outfitters in Texarkana who can provide rentals, shuttles and information about river conditions. It is best to take everything you need and run your own shuttles.

Reviewer's comments

The last 17.6 miles of the Little River is a scenic flatwater float trip that can be enjoyed by those with limited paddling experience that ends about a mile below the Red River confluence. The surrounding area is undeveloped, though it is very near Texarkana and Hope. This trip begins just below the dam at Millwood Lake State Park and ends at any of several access points on the Little or Red Rivers with the final access being beneath the US Highway 67 bridge in Fulton on the Red River. Typically, this reach would be considered a day trip run rather than an overnighter, especially if water was being released from Millwood Lake Dam, which would inundate any camping areas located along the river banks. With no local outfitters offering services on thisr each, and its short length, it is seldom paddled, though it usually has adequate water for good trips. While not too far away, there are no major population centers in the immediate vicinity of this run, so crowds are never a problem.

The Little Missouri and Ouachita Rivers are just a few miles away to the northeast, while the Cossatot and Saline Rivers are just a short distance to the north. Oklahoma's Little River headwaters, the Kiamichi and Mountain Fork Rivers, and Buffalo and Bok tu kolo Creeks are all great paddling streams not too far to the west of this reach. Take along a lunch and a camera to enjoy a great river near the Arkansas borders with Texas and Oklahoma.

Technical Data
Class Rating I
Length 18.5 miles
Min. Stage feet
Opt. Stage feet
Max. Stage feet
First Put-in Below Millwood Dam
Lat. / Long. N 33° 41' 14.01" / W 093° 57' 49.80"
Last Take-out US Highway 67 bridge
Lat. / Long. N 33° 36' 26.99" / 093° 48' 52.60"
Elevation 230 - 230 ft. msl
Gradient 0 fpm
USGS Gauge Web: Index (Red River)
Boats Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts
Season Anytime, weather permitting
Permits No

Arkansas Canoe Club - Promoting the sport of paddling

Canoeman River Guide Service - Guided river trips in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah

Lone Star Paddler - the paddlesports web site of Marc W. McCord

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Little River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

[ Little River Homepage ] [ SH 14 to Millwood Dam ]
[ Upper Cossatot River ] [ Lower Cossatot River ] [ Upper Saline River ] [ Lower Saline River ] [ Baker Creek ]

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