The best paddling on the Stawberry is between Hwy 167 and the Barnes low water bridge (shoals and one class II drop that runs between bedrock banks). It runs about 8-9 miles. You can cut off about 2 miles of that by putting in at the Simstown access located about three miles east of 167 on Simstown RD and still get the best stuff.
To get to the Simstown Access, turn east off of 167 about a mile north of the hwy. 167 bridge over the Strawberry River; the road you turn on to is a paved road and the turn is marked by a brown Simstown Access sign. After driving a little less than 2 miles on this road you will see the Access road on your right. It is in a low area where a creek goes under the road. The sign for the Access may not be standing, so look carefully and you can see the river and a grassy parking area. If you go 2 miles, you have gone too far.
If you are coming from Memphis, you can save a few miles by turning west off of Hwy. 63 on to Hwy. 117 at Black Rock after you cross the Black River. Follow Hwy. 117 to Smithville and keep driving west on a road that is not numbered on the Arkansas State Highway map, but appears to be paved (?). This road parallels the Strawberry River and after about 10 miles crosses Hwy. 58 and becomes Hwy. 354 and heads for Center; about a half mile shy of Center turn west off of 354 onto an unnumbered road (most likely paved) that will take you to the Simstown Access from the east after about 7 miles. If you go too far you will intersect with Hwy. 167 and need to go back a little less than 2 miles. An Arkansas State Highway map shows all these roads. If you don't take the shortcut, just go to Hardy and come down 167.Hwy 167 to Simstown Access - 4.7 miles @ 6.8 ft/mi. Simstown Access to Barnes Bridge - 6 miles @ 6.5 ft/mi. Barnes Bridge to Hulett Road low-water bridge - 7.6 miles @ 3.8 ft/mi. (Flat but still a nice paddle. Park and play at the take-out.) Hulett Bridge to Hwy. 58 bridge - 2.3 miles @ 3.9 ft/mi. (Take-out is not too fun due to brush and steepness. Gauge is located here.)
There is a boat launch access further down at Peeple's Bluff which adds probably another 7-8 miles. It is flat with a couple of shoals. Park and Play: At the Hulett bridge, when the river is running at 2.5-4.0 or better on the Poughkeepsie gauge, a nice surfing wave develops. It is located about 1.5 miles north of Poughkeepsie on Hwy. 58. Road is on the left and a deer camp is located right on the highway. Road is marked as well.
Gauge levels are an educated guess. Best levels are reported to be 2.5 to 4 ft.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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