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 00h27m 13.78 ft (too high)

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


Wave Action~~~Dragover

Detail Trip Report  Wave Action~~~Dragover  Ouachita, AR(50.61KB .jpeg)

Bluff Below Campground

Detail Trip Report  Bluff Below Campground  Ouachita, AR(103.74KB .jpeg)

Diagonal Ledge

Detail Trip Report  Diagonal Ledge  Ouachita, AR(101.17KB .jpeg)

Below Big Rock Rapid

Detail Trip Report  Below Big Rock Rapid  Ouachita, AR(80.63KB .jpeg)

Big Rock Playspot

Detail Trip Report  Big Rock Playspot  Ouachita, AR(202.36KB .jpeg)

Big Rock Rapid

Detail Trip Report  Big Rock Rapid  Ouachita, AR(67.46KB .jpeg)

Surfing at Big Rock (House Rapid)

Detail Trip Report  Surfing at Big Rock (House Rapid)  Ouachita, AR(95.32KB .jpeg)


Detail Trip Report  Campground  Ouachita, AR(114.39KB .jpeg)


Detail Trip Report  Ouachita  Ouachita, AR(122.03KB .jpeg)

Surfing at Big Rock 2

Detail Trip Report  Surfing at Big Rock 2  Ouachita, AR(45.70KB .jpeg)

Putin at Campground

Detail Trip Report  Putin at Campground  Ouachita, AR(110.43KB .jpeg)

Riverside Campsite

Detail Trip Report  Riverside Campsite  Ouachita, AR(100.07KB .jpeg)

Dragover Trail

Detail Trip Report  Dragover Trail  Ouachita, AR(121.24KB .jpeg)

Brian @ Big Rock

Detail Trip Report  Brian @ Big Rock  Ouachita River, AR(1.84MB .jpeg)

Ouachita River

Detail Trip Report  Ouachita River  Ouachita River, AR(2.00MB .jpeg)

Wildflowers on the Ouachita River

Detail Trip Report  Wildflowers on the Ouachita River  Ouachita River, AR(626.07KB .jpeg)

Shoals on the Ouachita

Detail Trip Report  Shoals on the Ouachita  Ouachita River, AR(1.89MB .jpeg)

Bryan @ Big Rock

Detail Trip Report  Bryan @ Big Rock  Ouachita River, AR(1.84MB .jpeg)

Omar @ Big Rock

Detail Trip Report  Omar @ Big Rock  Ouachita River, AR(1.59MB .jpeg)

Big Rock Rapids

Detail Trip Report  Big Rock Rapids  Ouachita River, AR(1.45MB .jpeg)

Ouachita River

Detail Trip Report  Ouachita River  Ouachita River, AR(1.84MB .jpeg)


Detail Trip Report    @Ouachita 3) Dragover (2.9 miles), AR(2.25MB .jpeg)

Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

Minimum level listed above is for a good run with no dragging. Can be run down as low as 1.8 ft but will be very scrapy. Levels of 2-3 feet good for float fishing and inexperienced tandem canoeists. Levels of 3-5 feet considered to be ideal for whitewater paddlers, with many preferring the 3.2 to 4 foot range. Above 5 feet the rapids start to wash out.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Ouachita River near Mount Ida, AR
usgs-07356000 3.00 - 5.00 ft I-II 00h27m 13.78 ft (too high)
Gauge (414 sq.mi.drainage) is just 10 miles upstream of this reach, thus should be fairly accurate for flows here.
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
0.00 -1.80 ft extremely Low-somewhat Low I-II Extremely low. Not recommended.
1.80 -3.00 ft somewhat Low-barely Low I-II Good for float fishing and inexperienced tandem canoeists. Not very worthwhile for whitewater boaters.
3.00 -4.00 ft barely runnable-perfect runnable I-II Low-to-moderate flows. Perhaps ideal for whitewater boating.
4.00 -5.00 ft perfect runnable-high runnable I-II Moderate-to-high flows.
5.00 -6.50 ft somewhat High-somewhat High I-II A bit high. Boatable, but things start to wash out.

Report - Reports of Ouachita 3) Dragover (2.9 miles) and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.


When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Ouachita [AR] Big Rock Playspot n/a David McDonald
Ouachita [AR] Below Big Rock Rapid n/a David McDonald
Ouachita [AR] Wave Action~~~Dragover 1100cfs Josh Wolverton
8y222d02h11m Ouachita River [AR] Account of 08/07/09 n/a Candice Dunn
8y306d03h11m @Ouachita 3) Dragover (2.9 miles) [AR] Account of 09/19/09 n/a Roman Ryder
> 10 years Ouachita [AR] Dragover Trail n/a David McDonald



User Comments

Users can submit comments.
August 21 2016 (551 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.

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.

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 3) Dragover (2.9 miles), Ouachita Arkansas, US (mobile)