The 9 Best Spots for Kayaking in Hot Springs Arkansas

There are some truly great places for Kayaking in Hot Springs Arkansas. Located in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and abundance of waterways. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or new to the sport, there are plenty of paddling opportunities in and around Hot Springs to suit your skills and interests. From calm, crystal clear lakes to fast-flowing rivers, there’s something for everyone. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to the top places for kayaking in Hot Springs and provide information on rental companies, guided tours, and other useful tips. So grab your paddles and get ready to explore the beauty of Hot Springs by kayak!

1. Lake Hamilton is a tourist favorite with around 7,200-acres, this lake is located on the end of Hot Springs and offers calm waters for paddling. There are several marinas on the lake that rent kayaks, as well as guided tours available. Along the waters of Lake Hamilton, visitors can experience Hot Springs from a fun, new vantage point. 

2. Lake Catherine State Park is a smaller lake, also located just outside of Hot Springs, with lovely opportunities for kayaking. It has a more rugged shoreline and is surrounded by wooded areas, providing a more natural setting for paddling. The marina is open in the summertime and offers guests kayak rentals as well as options for other water activities. 

3. The Ouachita River is 605 miles long and the lower part of it right flows through Hot Springs. The river offers a variety of paddling opportunities, from gentle stretches of water to more challenging rapids. There are several kayak rental companies in Hot Springs that offer guided tours on the river. 

Kayaking in Hot Springs Arkansas

4. The Gulpha Gorge, which is located within the Hot Springs National Park, is another good spot for kayaking. It is a narrow, rocky canyon with clear, cool water and is a great place for a more adventurous paddling experience. The Gulpha Gorge is located along a campground within the park that also features swimming and picnic areas, perfect for a family outing. 

5. Degray Lake State Park is a reservoir just south of Hot Springs. With miles of shoreline this 13,800 acre lake has plenty of serene waters for kayakers. The DeGray Marina also offers rentals for visitors without their own equipment. Be sure to check out their website for more information such as hours of operation and rental rates. 

6. Daisy State Park is located along the shores of Lake Greeson; a 7,000 acre man-made lake perfect for kayaking and fishing. Visitors can paddle in the calm waters of Lake Greeson and enjoy the surrounding views of the beautiful Ouachita foothills. Although it is about an hour from Hot Springs, it is perfect for a day trip and the park has rentals available as well. 

7. Lake Winona is a hidden gem north of Hot Springs. It is a small, quiet, pristine lake perfect for a calm day on the water. The lake is specifically for boating and fishing so bring kayaks but don’t plan to swim. It is a lovely secluded spot; however, there are no rentals so be prepared with your own equipment. Due to it’s off-the-beaten path location, Lake Winona is more suited for experienced nature-lovers looking for a nice escape. 

8. Lake Norrell is a well-maintained and large lake north of Hot Springs, with over twelve miles of shoreline. Once a private lake, it is now a public landmark with visitors coming from all over to fish, kayak, jet ski, and more. The lake has public boat ramps so prepare to bring your own kayaks and enjoy a day out on the beautiful waters.

9. Located just a little bit south of Hot Springs, the Caddo River is a peaceful tributary of the Ouachita River. This serene waterway is about 82 miles long and offers plenty of calm waters for kayakers to explore. There are kayak rentals available and plenty of other water activities for everyone in the family to enjoy, regardless of your experience level.  

Hot Springs and the surrounding areas offers a wide range of paddling opportunities for kayakers of all skill levels. Be sure to look at each location in advance and be prepared to bring your own equipment if necessary. The lovely natural beauty of Arkansas will surround you whichever waters you decide to explore. Make Hot Springs your next kayaking destination!

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