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Difficulty I-II
Length 5.6 Miles
Gauge Saline River near Dierks, AR
Flow Range 5.50 - 9.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 7.3 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/29/2015 4:15 pm

River Description

Note: This stream had debris from a major ice storm in 2000. Watch for trees, especially below the low-water bridge.

Put-in: Below Dierks Lake at USCOE Campground. Follow the signs to Dierks Lake Dam from Hwy 70 just West of the town of Dierks. There is a $3.00 day use fee at Horseshoe Bend Rec Area.

Take-out: Three options:

1) Play the 3/4 mile horseshoe bend around the campground. This area contains the best play spots. A couple holes and waves and is class II in nature.
There is a nice trail along the river in this section which allows for easy scouting, portages or multiple runs.

2) NOTE: This access is not always open due to timber company gate at the main road entrance. Usually only available during special releases. Paddle down to the low water bridge at mile 2.6. Access from road #30,000 about half-way between the Dam and Hwy 70. This stretch offers some smaller class I-II rapids. A nice eddyline below the campground next at the first bluff on the right. Portage the low-water bridge if continuing downstream. The low water bridge is a danger. Beware and take-out well away from the culverts. People have been sucked through the culverts. (not pretty)

3) Hwy 70 bridge West of Dierks. This section includes mainly class I rapids.

Whitewater features have been enhanced at the campground loop area.

There are some nice eddys and eddylines in the area near the campsites. This is where the willow jungle was previously. A small surf wave is present at flows from 250 to 450 cfs.

The main area consists of 3 features:
#1 Is a fairly retentive wave/hole. Bypass the meat on river right. This drop is called 'Butter'. It is smooth and easy and offers nice eddies on both sides. Good at flows from 300 cfs and up. Starts to flush a little more above 500 cfs.
#2 Is a fast frothy wave. Flows below 450 cfs offer two main waves (side by side) with a break in the middle for transition. At higher flows, the wave gets faster and merges into a single but wider wave.
#3 Is an aggressive ledge hole with nice access eddies and large recovery pool below. This one is rowdy and will test your skills. Swimmers flush, surfers stick.

The loop ends in a nice class 2 rapid.

Improvements have been and are continuing to be made to the campsites and park facilities. Showers are now available and water and electric hookups are available at all campsites.

Great camping below the dam next to the river. Additional camping with showers availble at campgrounds on the lake. See the Corps website for more info.

There is some decent rock climbing available near the boat ramp on the West side of the Dam.

Fall drawdown releases in October usually are from the bottom of the lake, giving the water a 'rotten egg' smell. Definitely bring noseclips then!

Often runnable for several days after the natural flow streams in the area (Cossatot, Little Missouri, Upper Saline) have dropped, as the dam releases water held for flood control.


Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

There are a couple small tributaries between the dam and the gauge at the hwy that could effect the correlation.
5.4 feet is about 200 CFS

6.0 feet is about 350 CFS
6.5 feet is about 450 CFS
6.8 feet is about 550 CFS
7.2 feet is about 700 CFS
7.6 feet is about 900 CFS
7.9 feet is about 1000 CFS (max level)

Section runnable down to 300-400 cfs (5.5 to 6.0 feet)

Check out the status of the lake and dam operations at the Corps website.

Tailwater elevation

Approximate flow
441.0 ft no flow
443.2 ft about 300 CFS
444.2 ft about 500 CFS
444.6 ft about 900+ CFS.


Directions Description

Walk the shuttle for the short loop section, or use instructions below for the full section.

No Accident Reports




Lance Jones


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1198393 10/13/10 Lance Jones
1192361 01/26/09 Lance Jones n/a
1196132 09/27/09 Lance Jones
1196130 09/25/09 Lance Jones
1202506 07/11/14 Lance Jones
1203555 04/29/15 Lance Jones