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  Buffalo and others...
  Posted by: al_a on Jan-21-14 9:59 PM (EST)
 

As has been pointed out, the Buffalo in AR is a premier river for float camping, but dependent upon water levels. I don't know exactly when you would like to float, but the upper river is usually floatable until sometime in May, the middle river until sometime in June, and the lower river is pretty much floatable year-round. If you're floating it in the summer, you can do a five day trip from Gilbert to the White River, and even go on down the White to Norfork, 11 miles on it. If the river is high enough to float from Buffalo Point or Rush, it will be floatable from Gilbert, and in fact when it's really low, it's actually a little easier floating from Gilbert to Buffalo Point than from Buffalo Point on down, because the volume of water is nearly the same in both stretches but the upper portion has narrower riffles.

There are other Ozark rivers that are less floated than the Current or Buffalo. It all depends upon what kind of water you like. The Big Piney River in MO (not the AR Big Piney Creek) is a very pretty river that's less crowded. It's a little slower than the Current, but has some excellent scenery. You could do it from Boiling Spring access to Ross Bridge, which makes a nice three day trip. There are canoe rentals and campgrounds on both ends. It's also nice because in lower mid to late summer water levels it's floatable but not runnable by jetboats, so you won't be bothered by the motorheads.

The Gasconade is a very long river (the Big Piney is a tributary). It's slow, but quite scenic. Lots of possibilities for long floats.

The Meramec is very popular with locals and St. Louis people, but is usually overlooked by out of staters. It moves along okay, has plenty of water, and you could do a float of at least five days and be in scenic country the whole time, from Maramec Spring to Meramec State Park. It will have about the same number of people (and jetboats) as the Current.

There are others, far less well known...but I'm keeping them to myself!

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