National Recreation Trails Database


Trail Description Continued

A major tributary of the Mississippi River, the Arkansas River generally flows to the east and southeast, through the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. At 1,469 miles long, it is the sixth longest river in the United States and the second-longest tributary in the Mississippi-Missouri system. The earliest account of this river is to be found in the narratives of the Coronado Expedition of 1540-1541.

Rich with history, the Arkansas River is overflowing with educational and outdoor recreational opportunities. From scenic prairie views to sport fishing, from kayaking to duck and goose hunting, the Arkansas provides something exciting to visitors of all ages and interests.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), through mutual agreements with multiple parties, have developed this 192 miles of river water trail into a highly sought-after destination for adventure. KDWPT has spent more than 20 years developing access ramps, enhancing conservation programs and creating awareness of the water trail. Through the many partnerships that have been formed, this river water trail thrives because of the extensive recreation, education and restoration activities that take place. You can find more details about these activities later in this application.

While the Arkansas River in Kansas stretches from the Colorado border, the western-most portion of the river rarely holds enough water to navigate. Beginning at Great Bend, the flows of the river begin to reach seasonal flows sufficient for paddling. By nature, prairie streams and rivers are prone to drought and flooding with varied seasonal precipitation.


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This website provides access to the National Recreation Trail (NRT) database, a collection of information on the various trails which have been designated as NRT's. These trails are located throughout the United States and U.S. territories. The amount of information may vary from trail to trail. If you need more information than is available on this site, please use the contact(s) listed for that trail. (If no contacts, are listed, you may request help from American Trails at [email protected])

The on-line database has details on the currently designated National Recreation Trails. The NRT Program online is hosted by American Trails: