Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

Quick Facts

Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

Arkansas

(870) 385-2201

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

This park-natural area stretches for 12 miles along the wild and scenic Cossatot River, Arkansas's premier whitewater experience renowned as the best whitewater float stream in mid-America. Located in southwest Arkansas south of Mena, the Cossatot forms Cossatot Falls, a rugged and rocky canyon that challenges the most experienced canoeists and kayakers with its Class IV and V rapids. When the water is high, the paddlers are here. This National Wild and Scenic River is a watershed basin with flow levels dependent on rainfall. After significant precipitation, the river level rises, allowing experienced paddlers the opportunity to test their skills in challenging Class IV and V whitewater. At the river's Cossatot Falls area, a rocky canyon with distinct ledges, the river drops 33 feet in elevation within 1/3 of a mile. Late winter to early spring is peak whitewater paddling season here. Class III-V whitewater is for experts only. Floatable river levels are usually limited to late-fall, winter and spring.

The park's Brushy Creek Recreation Area at the Highway 246 bridge offers day-use facilities including picnic sites, a nature trail, restrooms and river access. A walkway high above the river provides barrier-free access on the west side. The park also has several small campgrounds. The park features a 15,000-square-foot visitor information/education center that has a large exhibit gallery, two classroom/lab rooms, a wildlife viewing area, gift shop and park administrative offices. The theme of the Interpretive exhibits is "The Cossatot: A River for All Seasons" and the focus is on the river's ecology.

Map of Cossatot River -Natural Area (AR)

Latitude, Longitude: 34.293105, -94.167423

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Activities

  • Boating

    This park-natural area stretches for 12 miles along the wild and scenic Cossatot River, Arkansas's premier whitewater experience renowned as the best whitewater float stream in mid-America. The Cossatot River forms the Cossatot Falls, a rugged and rocky canyon that challenges the most experienced canoeists and kayakers with its Class IV and V rapids. When the water is high, the paddlers are here.

  • Camping

    The park-natural area has two small campgrounds, with a total of 22 tent sites. Backpacking is also popular along the River Corridor Trail, which winds along through some of the roughest, yet most scenic, terrain found in the Ouachita Mountains. In order to reduce impact, park management asks that hikers limit their camping to the access areas (Ed Banks, Sandbar, Cossatot Falls and Hwy. 278 Access Area).

  • Fishing

    Fishing is available in the park.

  • Hiking

    Visitors can choose from several hiking trails, ranging from short, relaxing interpretive nature trails to the strenuous 14.5-mile River Corridor Trail which winds along through some of the roughest, yet most scenic, terrain found in the Ouachita Mountains.

  • Picnicking

    Stop for a scenic picnic overlooking the rushing river.

  • Water Sports

    This park-natural area stretches for 12 miles along the wild and scenic Cossatot River, Arkansas's premier whitewater experience renowned as the best whitewater float stream in mid-America. The Cossatot River forms the Cossatot Falls, a rugged and rocky canyon that challenges the most experienced canoeists and kayakers with its Class IV and V rapids. When the water is high, the paddlers are here.

Seasonality/Weather

Cossatot floating opportunities are seasonal usually early spring & winter. Water levels are normally too low for paddling during the summer and early fall.

Directions

Driving

Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area is located south of Mena. The northern route to the park is via Ark. 246 between Vandervoort and Athens. The southern route is via U.S. 278 between Wickes and Umpire. Weyerhaeuser Company roads provide river access.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(870) 385-2201

Links