Wild & Scenic Rivers - Southeast



Sipsey Fork, West Fork River
William B. Bankhead National Forest
Sipsey Wilderness
Steep bluffs make the Sipsey Fork unique in this region and add to a vast range of plant life which makes for a scenic float experience. Topography and geologic conditions allow for quick rises and drops in flow levels.
Total Miles: 61.4, Wild: 36.4, Scenic: 25


Big Piney Creek
Ozark-St.Francis National Forests
The distinctive scenery of the Big Piney Creek is characterized by its sandstone bluffs, waterfalls still pools, and stands of oak, hickory, and pine. It is a popular recreation site for canoeing, fishing, and camping.
Total Miles: 45.2, Scenic: 45.2

Buffalo River
Ozark-St.Francis National Forests
This segment of the rivers the headwaters for the Buffalo National River and flows through the Upper Buffalo Wilderness on the north slopes of the Boston Mountains in northern Arkansas. It is the foraging area for gray and Indiana bats which inhabit the numerous caves in the vicinity of the river corridor.
Total Miles: 15.8, Wild: 9.4, Scenic: 6.4/FONT>

Cossatot River
Ouachita National Forest
P.O. Box 1270, Federal Bldg., Hot Springs, AR 71902
Arkansas State Parks Dept.,
One Capitol Mall, 4A-900, Little Rock, AR 72201
Little Rock District, Corps of Engineers
P.O.Box 867, Little Rock, AR 72203
Flowing south from the Ouachita Mountains, the Cossatot is considered one of the best whitewater floating rivers in Arkansas, with Class V rapids at Cossatot Falls.
Total Miles: 30.8, Scenic: 26.6, Recreational: 4.2

Hurricane Creek
Ozark-St.Francis National Forests
Tributary to Big Piney Creek, this stream flows through the Hurricane Creek Wilderness. Its outstanding
scenery is characterized by sharp ridges and cliffs, unusual rock formations, and clear reflecting pools.
Total Miles: 15.5, Wild: 2.4, Scenic: 13.1

Little Missouri River
Ouachita National Forest
This river flows through narrow forested canyons and has small waterfalls, crystal clear water, and excellent scenery. The 4.4-mile wild segment is excellent canoeing water.
Total Miles: 15.7, Wild: 4.4, Scenic: 11.3

Mulberry River
Ozark-St.Francis National Forests
One of the premier smallmouth bass fisheries in the Boston Mountains, the Mulberry is also popular for canoeing, camping, and swimming. Eagles can also be seen feeding along the river during migration periods.
Total Miles: 56, Scenic: 36.6, Recreational: 19.4

North Sylamore Creek
Ozark-St.Francis National Forests
605 West Main, Box 1008, Russeliville, AR 72801
This stream is an integral part of the Blanchard Springs Recreation Complex, which also includes the Blanchard Caverns. It is one of the most popular recreation areas in Arkansas.
Total Miles: 14.5, Scenic: 14.5

Richland Creek
Ozark-St Francis National Forests
Richland Creek Falls and Twin Falls, an upland swamp, fossiliferous limestones, and smallmouth bass fishing are some of the features of this Ozark Mountain stream. It also flows through the Richland Creek Wilderness.
Total Miles: 16.5, Wild: 5.3, Scenic: 11.2


Loxahatchee River
Florida Department of Natural Resources,
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Bldg.,
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32303
Located in Palm Beach County, the river flows through an interesting mix of fish, wildlife, and vegetation.
Total Miles: 7.5, Wild: 1.25, Scenic: 5.75, Recreational: 0.5


Red River
Daniel Boone National Forest
Hone your whitewater skills on Kentucky's Red, plus two state-designated wild rivers, the Rockcastle and the Cumberland.
Total Miles: 19.4, Wild: 9.1, Recreational: 10.3


Saline Bayou
Kisatchie National Forest
2500 Shreveport Highway, P.O. Box 5500, Pineville, LA 71361-5500
Vegetation, animal and bird life, and calm black water characterize the bayou. It is ideal for quiet canoeing,
floating, and fishing.
Total Miles: 19, Scenic: 19


Black Creek
DeSoto National Forest
Black Creek has deep black water, white sand bars, and, follows a meandering course through Mississippi's coastal plain. The vicinity has a variety of opportunities for canoeing, backpacking, and fishing.
Total Miles: 21, Scenic: 21

North Carolina

Horsepasture River
Nantahala National Forest
At 4.2 miles, the designated segment of the Horsepasture is the shortest river in the system. It is an exceptionalexample of an escarpment river with five major waterfalls within 2 miles, numerous cascades,rapids, boulders,and rock outcroppings. A hiking trail provides viewing opportunities of the fails.
Total Miles: 4.2, Scenic: 3.6, Recreational: 0.6

New River, South Fork
New River State Park
1477 Wagoner Access Road, Jefferson, NC 28640
The ancient, northward-flowing New River passes through valleys and bottom lands in western North Carolina.
Total Miles: 26.5, Scenic: 26.5

South Carolina

Chattooga River
Sumter National Forest
Chattahoochee National Forest
Nantahala National Forest
Flowing through three southeastern states, the Chattooga is renowned for its whitewater rafting experience. Its natural setting, fishing, and wildlife are outstanding features.
Total Miles: 56.9, Wild: 39.8, Scenic: 2.5, Recreational: 14.6


Obed River
National Park Service
P.O. Drawer 429, Wartburg, TN 37887
The Obed River and its two main tributaries, Clear Creek and Daddys Creek, cut into the Cumberland Plateau of east Tennessee, providing some of the most rugged scenery in the southeast.
Total Miles: 45.2, Wild: 44.25, Recreational: 0.95

Definitions of the terms; "Wild, Scenic, and Recreational."

Contrary to what you might think, these terms don't describe the character of the river. Wild doesn't mean it's a wicked and foamy stretch of whitewater, and scenic doesn't mean it's a pastoral float. Rather, it's all about accessibility. Here's what the government says. . .

  • Wild; this river is accessible only by trail, is undeveloped and generally is unpolluted.
  • Scenic; this river can be accessed by some roads but is mainly still a trail access river.
  • Recreational; this river has been developed along the shoreline and is easily accessible by roads, trails not necessary.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 5 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »