White River Arkansas: 6 Wonderful Things to Know

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WHite river arkansas
By: CLP Media/Shutterstock

The white river Arkansas is a very famous river that flows through the States of the United States – Arkansas and Missouri. It originates from the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas and covers about 722 miles (1162 km).

The river makes a northward arc as it flows through the southern part of Missouri and then turns right back to Arkansas and flows southeast to its mouth at the Mississippi River.

The Course of The White River Arkansas

The source and origination of the white river Arkansas are the same as the buffalo river, the Boston mountains found in northwestern Arkansas, more precisely in the Ozark Mountains – St. Francis national forest that falls southeast Fayetteville in Washington county.

The white river Arkansas then continues to flow in the northwards direction from its source. It makes a loop through southwest Missouri before it heads southwest towards Arkansas and to the Mississippi River near the Eureka Springs, which is its mouth.

It further flows back to Arkansas and past the bull’s shoals in Marion County, Mountain home in Baxter county, and calico rock at Izard County.

On reaching Batesville in independence county, the white river initiates its second section, known as the lower white.

The river here becomes a bit navigable as its speed of flow decreases greatly, and the river starts forming shallow-draft vessels.

The white river then flows south of Batesville for approximately 295 miles through the delta region in Arkansas, passing many other places like Augusta in Woodruff County, Des Arc of the Prairie Clarendon of Monroe County, and St. Charles of the Arkansas County.

augusta arkansas usa october 18 2021 the historic woodruff
By: Roberto Galan / Shutterstock.

At the last 10 miles (16 km) of the white river, Arkansas becomes a part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. This part of the white river Arkansas is considerably deeper than the rest of the river.

Finally, it empties into the Mississippi River, located in Desha county.

Despite the white river of Arkansas being much shorter than the Arkansas River, it still manages to carry the same amount of water that normally ranges from 20,000 cubic feet per second. On occasion, it manages to carry more than 100,000 cubic feet per second during periods of floods.


Various Native American groups lived along the white river Arkansas coasts thousands of years before the European contract was signed.

The native Americans had managed to build and develop a large town focused on agriculture with their Mississippian mound-building culture.

This establishment was present on the lower white river Arkansas until Hernando de Soto pulled of an expedition navigating the white river Arkansas in the year 1541-42.

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By: Morphart Creation/Shutterstock

The upper white river coast saw Delaware and Shawnee’s settlements with a Spanish heritage in the year 1780s.

The 18th century marked the presence of numerous French trappers and hunters in the upper white river. In the year 1819 – henry Rowe Schoolcraft made notes on the scenic beauty and clear white waters of the white river Arkansas, suitable for boating.

Keelboats were one of the earliest means of transportation for early Arkansas settlers.

Above Newport – due to its sharp turns and rapids and the river’s low water levels during the summer months – additional labor is required to move keelboats upstream against the currents. During this period, downstream travel along the river was the only feasible option to navigate Arkansas’s white river.

On the other hand, the lower white river Arkansas could be navigated through both the Newport and the Mississippi River. The river acted as a highway to carry and supply crops and other agricultural products for import and export from a few frontier settlements to river towns such as Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

The upper white river Arkansas saw steamboat travel’s commencement in the year 1831. All the settlements and towns along the coast of the upper white river Arkansas kept keeping the river’s pathways clear for steamboats to navigate through with ease.

The river’s winding course leads through a wide variety of environments – starting from the seasonal, fast-flowing waters of the upper White River to the much wider, slower-moving waters that stretch down the river. One can find various small streams and lakes that are excellent spots for fishing and boating between these extremes.

The most common species of fish to be caught and found here is the trout fish. Trout fishing is a widespread leisure activity at the white river Arkansas. Other fish species, including the brown trout, the bass, and the catfish, can also be found in various locations.

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Photo by Maximillian cabinet/Shutterstock

The White River National Wildlife Refuge was set up under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s oversight to secure all the species of birds that regularly migrate in 1935.

The sanctuary that spreads vastly over 160000 acres of land is one of the largest sanctuaries of hardwood bottomland forest in the Mississippi river valley.

Tributaries of The White River Arkansas

The buffalo national river and the little red river are the main tributaries of the white river Arkansas.

The lower white river tributaries include the black and the cache rivers. Many other small tributaries have their own flora and fauna maintained under individual wildlife protection areas and are maintained by the various departments of the federal and state levels.

The White river Arkansas, got flooded below Batesville during the flood of 1927. Along with it, the north and east areas in Randolph, Clay, and Lawrence counties also became flooded due to the white river’s tributaries. At this time, the Mississippi River’s torrents caused the White to run backward on its course.

Flood Management & Reservoir Creation at the White River of North Arkansas

Many sections of the white river of North Arkansas, were modified and made into dams in the 20th century. The construction of artificial reservoirs had begun along with hydroelectric power generators to flood control schemes. This also gave birth to the water management and destruction and recreational activities along the white river Arkansas.

There are Four significant dams in Arkansas and one in southern Missouri, the most important one being the bull Shoals Dam.

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By: Ruth McNeill Photography/Shutterstock

All were built in the year 1960s along the upper waterway. Bull Shoals Dam also makes artificial lakes and produces hydroelectric power for the local people living in the settlements of the coast of the white river. Various state parks and natural life reserves are located in these regions, including bull Shoals Dam. These lakes incorporate Beaver Lake, Table Rock Lake (in Missouri), Bull Shoals Lake, North fork Lake, and Greer’s Ferry Lake.

Government Schemes About the White River Arkansas

Usage of the lesser White river has been intensely great in agriculture and business than the upper White River. As rice cultivation in eastern Arkansas has increased, it has progressively depleted Arkansas’s Grand Prairie’s shallow water aquifer.

The Grand Prairie Irrigation Project—supported by using the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a few farmers—pump out the water without from the White River with the help of a machine of ditches, pipes, and canals to irrigate farms within the area.

This assignment has met resistance from conservationists and some farmers, who assert that the venture will lower the river’s water stage and greater sustainable, much less luxurious options to the $319 million mission. As of 2008, the final of the irrigation pumps is ready to be hooked up pending litigation.

The effect of the canal boat route on the lower White river stays as a controversial issue.

Right now, a 250-mile-long, eight-foot-profound channel encourages the boat traffic from the Mississippi River to Newport.

Regardless of an uncountable measure of the ship traffic, the Lower White River Improvement Project, advanced by the U.S. Armed force Corps of Engineers and different bursting interests, has tried to develop this channel by an extra foot to bring the lower White’s navigational limit up to standard with other enormous streams.

However, this arrangement is contradicted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, and different other environment-related groups and unions.

Albeit the Corps of Engineers accepts that the venture can be finished mindfully, rivals of the measure accept that developing the channel will hurt the sensitive wetland environment of the lower waterway and harm the economies of towns like Stuttgart (Arkansas County), which rely upon their livelihood measures like hunting and tourism, on the biodiversity of the floodplain.

Financing for this measure has been repeatedly turned down at the state and government levels. Yet, an examination was started in 1996 to analyze the possibility of developing the waterway by utilizing an excess of 100 wing barriers at thirty areas along the stream. The venture is as yet in an in-between state forthcoming appropriate financing.

In acknowledging neighborhood protection endeavors and energizing administrative help of those endeavors, the central government, in 2013, named the White River a National Blueway—a second such assignment in the country. Nonetheless, because of public kickback, the U.S. Division of the Interior dropped the White River from the National Blueway program soon thereafter.

Things to Do Around the White River Arkansas

The area around white river Arkansas is famous for many activities and events. The bull shoals white river of North Arkansas state park is very famously known for its trout docks, trout fishing, fly fishing, and spin fishing especially at the north fork river and is situated here at the shores of white river Arkansas.  This is why fishing is a very famous activity along the white river Arkansas.

They have a state-of-the-art exhibition hall that is open for visitors and a theatre that shares and depicts the entire area’s history in and around the white river Arkansas.

As you walk further down into the park, you would also find other amenities and establishments, including 113 campsites for campers who wish to camp and 3 rent RV sites for the crowd who likes to camp on wheels.

There is a riverside store that offers various fishing supplies as well. White River Arkansas state park is well equipped with all the hiking and mountain biking facilities.

By: Africa Studio on Shutterstock

They also host programs and workshops to learn about trout fishing with catch release techniques and Campfire cooking or take part in nature walks.

There are also many places for accommodation along the shore. We have got you a list of nearby hotels and resorts for you to have a comfortable stay:

  • Anglers Resort at 0.4 miles
  • Pine Lodge Motel at 0.4 miles
  • Dam Site RV Park at 0.5 miles
  • Twin Lakes Inn at 1 mile
  • River Creel Cottage at 1.1 miles
  • Chandler’s Inn at 1.2 miles
  • Brass Door In at 1.2 miles
  • White River Front Retreat at 0.9 miles
  • Aunt Grace’s Stay ‘n Play Resort at 1 mile
  • Dogwood Lodge at 1.4 miles
  • Point Return Campground at 1.4 miles
  • Mar Resort & Tackle Shop at 1.2 miles
  • Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock Houseboat Rentals at 1.3 miles
  • Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock at 1.3 miles
  • Lakeview Recreation Area & Campground at 1.4 miles
  • Cedar Springs Country Inn at 0.6 miles
  • Bay Breeze Resort at 1.4 miles
  • Lakeview Cove Marina at 1.4 miles
  • Bull Mountain Resort at 1.4 miles
  • Evergreen Resort at 1.4 miles

Many other kinds of water sports activities like swimming and kayaking and many others are held here at Arkansas’s white river. Don’t forget to attend any of the many music concerts and fests held here at the white river Arkansas.

The many food and snacks centers and restaurants provide delicious snacks as well as meals. Some of the best restaurants to go to are Connie’s cafe, Anthony’s kitchen, Gaston’s white river resort restaurant, Parkview pizza, Chili’s, pizza hut, and the barn cafe village food office Letty’s restaurant, and the big creek grill and bar.

In short, there is nothing here that you won’t find!

White River Arkansas

If you plan on visiting Arkansas anytime soon, so make sure to visit the white river Arkansas without fail and experience the bliss of nature while you stay there.

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