River description by permission from Southwest Paddler.
Put-in: 4 miles North of 63, 6 miles east of Big Cedar.
The Kiamichi River begins on Pine Mountain in eastern Le Flore County near the Arkansas border and flows about 165 miles in a south-southwest direction to the Red River on the Texas border. Its name derives from the French word for "waterbird". Along its path the Kiamichi River flows through Hugo Lake, which was formed by a flood control dam built about 7 miles east of the Town of Hugo and just north of the confluence of the Red River.
The uppermost reach of the Kiamichi begins between SH 88 and SH 63 just west of Mena, Arkansas along the Oklahoma-Arkansas border, then flows under SH 63 down to US Highway 259 near Big Cedar in the Ouachita National Forest. The river forms just a few miles north of the headwaters of the Mountain Fork River, and follows an almost parallel course as it winds its way through the Kiamichi Mountains of Le Flore County. Between the K River and the Mountain Fork flows the Little River. The Kiamichi is rated Class II to III on a gradient of about 30 fpm amid beautiful forested banks and boulder garden rapids.
Though not perpetual, the river usually has an adequate flow for paddlers to enjoy other than in the dead of summer or during periods of extended drought conditions. It flows moderately swift, and paddlers should have at least intermediate level whitewater skills to safely run the stream because of its remote nature and the potential for pinning and/or wrapping. The area is very scenic, so bring a camera. The next time you are heading to the Upper Mountain Fork you might want to take a little longer and drive to the K River for a closer inspection. You might just discover a hidden gem in the Ouachitas that will make you return again.
Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!