Ouachita - 3) Dragover (2.9 miles)

Ouachita, Arkansas, US


3) Dragover (2.9 miles)

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 2.9 Miles
Avg. Gradient 7 fpm
Max Gradient 7 fpm

Big Rock Playspot

Big Rock Playspot
Photo of Jordan Egan by David McDonald taken 4-2007

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Ouachita River near Mount Ida, AR
usgs-07356000 3.00 - 5.00 ft I-II 01h01m 3.64 ft (running)
Low-to-moderate flows. Perhaps ideal for whitewater boating. Gauge (414 sq.mi.drainage) is just 10 miles upstream of this reach, thus should be fairly accurate for flows here.

River Description

Directions to Putin: From Pencil Bluff, AR. take Arkansas Hwy 88 east for 7 miles; turn south on county road 97 for one mile. Follow signs to campground (and take-out). County road 97 is gravel and can get really dusty when it's dry. Please obey the signs and keep your speed to a minimum through here out of consideration for the locals who live along this road.

The Dragover Campground has an access on the West Side (upstream)and one on the East Side (downstream) which the River makes a 3-mile horseshoe bend around and requires no shuttle (hence the name).

Campground has seven sites (each accomodating about 6 campers)with picnic tables, lantern posts, and fire rings. No water or electricity is provided. Campground has a handicapped accessible vault toilet. This campground is currently maintained by the Montgomery County Parks Department after being abandoned by the USFS; and no day use or camping fees are being charged at the present time. (If you see an employee of the Montgomery Parks Dept - be sure to let them know how much we appreciate their efforts in keeping this place going.) River access is provided by stairs down the bluff, (rather steep) with rollers in the middle to aid launching boats. (See photos below)

Nearby, Mount Ida has stores, gas stations, motels and cafes. The area is also well known for it's quartz crystal mines and rock shops. Some of the world's finest quartz crystal clusters and points come from around here.

This section of the upper Ouachita is a favorite for most local paddlers, as there are more rapids and playspots in this section than on other parts of the river.The river is suitable for paddlers of any skill level and for any type of boat from small play-boat type kayaks to canoes and even rafts, at the proper flow levels. There are numerous small rapids in this stretch, with the three most notable ones listed below in the "rapids" section.

This is a very scenic river, lined with high bluffs and beautiful foliage especially in spring. It is a very popular recreation spot in spring and fall, with summer levels usually too low for enjoyable float trips.

Each spring, ACA sanctioned canoe and kayak clinics are held here by the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society. These clinics teach river safety and skills relating to paddling techniques appropriate to the different types of canoes and kayaks. Visit thier website for more information. Click on the links provided below the Bayou Chapter section.

You can continue downstream from the East Side to Hwy 27 on Lake Ouachita. This section is 11.5 miles @ 5 ft/mile for first few miles all in the National Forest. Depending on the level of Lake Ouachita, 1/3 - 2/3 of the trip could be on the Lake.

Can also combine with upstream sections for longer trips.

Special thanks to the members of the Arkansas Canoe Club who contributed river information and photos.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2009-01-22 19:14:11


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.7Diagonal LedgeIPlayspot Photo
2.0Big Rock (House Rapid)IIPlayspot Photo
2.5Hungry HoleIIHazard Playspot

Rapid Descriptions

Diagonal Ledge (Class I, Mile 0.7)

Diagonal Ledge

Diagonal Ledge
Photo of Byron Eubanks by Jim Krueger

Pourovers and small rapids offer limited opportunities for play. Some of the small holes near the vertical pourovers can be a little "grabbier" than they look, especially when sidesurfing.

Big Rock (House Rapid) (Class II, Mile 2.0)

Below Big Rock Rapid

Below Big Rock Rapid
Photo of Greg Stacy by Jim Krueger

You can't miss this one when you are coming up on it. There is a big house on the bluff on river right overlooking the rapid. Also a huge boulder, and some smaller ones, right there too. Hence the names. Some folks call it House Rapid and some just call it Big Rock, but whatever you want to call it, all agree that it is the best rapid in the stretch. Good playspot at the right levels, which most agree would be between 3.5 - 5 feet on the gage. The most popular surfing spot is just below the big rock, but there are other good but smaller play spots in this area. At the river right chute of the big rock there is a shallow rock right in the middle of that wave, so it is best not to be bottom side up there. Other than that hazard, any swims in this area will generally be pretty easy to recover from.

Hungry Hole (Class II, Mile 2.5)
This rapid gets it's name from guess what? A hole that likes to keep paddlers who venture into it. At certain mid-levels it can be a keeper. The hole can be avoided by running next to the river left bank or also by running just right of center. There is a rock just right of that, and if you run to the right of the rock at levels over 500 beware of the strong eddy line caused by that rock. Some play in this area, just watch the hole. The hole however, at lower levels makes for good practice with hydraulics as it has the "grab" of some of the bad ones seen on other waterways, but less consequence.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
August 21 2016 (883 days ago)
RussellT (158522)
Camping at Dragover is now permanently prohibited because of the deadly flash floods that occurred
at Camp Albert Pike several years ago. Locals tell me that the Sheriffs Department actively
enforces the ban on camping. There are some free primitive campgrounds within 10 miles.