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Current River, Arkansas
Report by Marc W. McCord

Doniphan T.L. Wright Boat Ramp to Pocahontas Boat Ramp
~ 56.9 miles

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SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

General Description

From Doniphan in Ripley County of far southern Missouri the Current River flows into Arkansas and its confluence with the Black River near Pocahontas in Randolph County in close proximity to the terminus of the Spring, Eleven Point and Black Rivers, all of which feed the White River system. This reach begins at Doniphan City park at the SE corner of US Highway 160 and the Current river in Missouri, then flows about 57 miles to US Highway 67 / SH 90 on the southeastern edge of Pocahontas in northeastern Arkansas, about 90 miles northwest of Memphis.


Doniphan in Ripley County of southeastern Missouri and Randolph County in northeastern Arkansas. Jonesboro, Arkansas, located about 35 miles southeast of Old Donaldsonville State Park and the confluence of the Spring and Eleven Point Rivers, is the nearest town of any significant size.

Distance from major cities

Jonesboro 75 miles; Little Rock 208 miles; Fayetteville 270 miles; Fort Smith 332 miles; Texarkana 352 miles; Memphis 130 miles; Dallas 533 miles; Austin 723 miles; San Antonio 803 miles; Houston 642 miles; Oklahoma City 552 miles; Albuquerque 1,054 miles; Phoenix 1,512 miles; Denver 1,137 miles; Salt Lake City 1,671 miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination put-in on the river and route taken.)

Water Quality and Flow Rates

Water quality is usually good to very good, flowing clean, clear and cool from springs that feed the river all along its run through Missouri. Flows are almost always adequate for paddle trips on this reach of the river, though the current is slow and the river is wider than in Missouri.

Best time to go

Any time, weather permitting, is a good time to paddle the Current River, though spring and fall seasons offer the best combination of flow and climate conditions.

Hazards to navigation

There are no major rapids or waterfall hazards in this reach of the Current River. However, the river is popular with motorboaters and personal watercraft operators, so care has to be taken to avoid prop wash turbulence, especially during spring and summer weekend periods.

River Access Points

T.L. Wright boat landing in Doniphan City Park at US Highway 160 and Jefferson Street in Doniphan, Missouri, at 0.0 miles; CR U-4A off SH 142 and Ripley (Missouri) CR U on river left at about 6.0 miles; Possible public access along the left bank adjacent to SH 211 at Clay (Arkansas) CR 198 at about 9.0 miles; SH 328E Bridge at Reyno (Arkansas) on river left on public right-of-way at about 23.7 miles; US 67 Bridge SE of Biggers (Arkansas) on river right on public right-of-way at about 41.16 miles; Public boat ramp on river right below US Highway 67 in Pocahontas (Arkansas) at about 56.9 miles. There may be other access points available.

Campgrounds and accommodations

There are no known campgrounds located along the Current River between Doniphan, Missouri and Pocahontas, Arkansas. Abundant natural, primitive campsites can be found all along the river, but be sure to avoid accessing private property with having first obtained permission, and always camp high enough above the river's edge to avoid being caught in rising waters if the river should flash. It should be noted that while many potential campsites can be found on river islands and sand bar banks over the first half of this reach they are much harder to find on the lower half, which is heavily inundated with oxbow lakes and marshes, as well as farmland.

Liveries, outfitters and shuttle services

There are no known outfitters providing rentals or shuttles along this reach of the Current River. Bring everything you need, and run you own shuttles.

Reviewer's comments

Missouri's Current River is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable rivers anybody can paddle, and the journey to its Black River confluence in Arkansas is certainly no exception. Though slower, less exciting (meaning no real rapids to negotiate) and less popular, this reach offers an enjoyable paddle all the way to the Black River confluence near Pocahontas, Arkansas. In fact, it is possible to follow the Black River all the way to the White River confluence, then journey down the White River to the Mississippi River on the Arkansas-Mississippi State Line. A lack of commercial services along the way keeps this from being a highly popular reach of the river, but that is the main attraction for those who enjoy more solitude and less development. It's year-round character makes this a great stream to paddle and fish just about any time. Scenery is natural and abundant, so be sure to pack the camera.

Technical Data
Class Rating I
Length ~ 56.9 miles
Minimum Flow cfs
Optimum Flow cfs
Maximum Flow cfs
First Put-in T.L. Wright Boat Ramp
Lat. / Long. N 36° 36' 50.75" / W 090° 49' 53.73"
Last Take-out Pocahontas Boat Ramp (river right)
Lat. / Long. N 36° 15' 12.21" / W 090° 58' 15.23"
Elevation 321 - 253 feet msl
Gradient 1.2 fpm
USGS Gauge Web: Doniphan
Boats Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts
Season Year-round, weather permitting
Permits No

Arkansas Canoe Club

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

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