Our group of three kayaks paddled the North Fork on 6/7/17 when the Benton gauge was about 4.7 at start time of about 10:30 AM. Since the river, at various places, was almost too shallow to run, I would suggest that a gauge reading of about 4.5 be the minimum to start a paddling trip from Steel Bridge.
The trip to Lyle Park in Benton, AR took about 3 hr 20 min which included lunch time. There were many trees down in the river and some of them blocked a large portion of the river. Tight maneuvering was necessary frequently. In two places downed trees were strainers that blocked the entire path, so short portages were required.
Interesting stretch of river with significant challenges for intermediate paddlers. Trees close to the shoreline provide a canopy over much of the river. Bug spray was not used, but will be used on the next trip on this river.
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