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Places to Paddle 
   
Understanding River Safety Before Venturing Out
 

Local Streams

Local streams can sometimes be run after heavy rains.  Levels are typically high enough for only a few hours, so quick action is required. Boating these streams at higher stages presents many hazards, so these runs are not suitable for inexperienced paddlers.  Even expert paddlers may face unexpected hazards from changes in flow, water flowing into the tree line, fallen trees, strainers, low-head dams, high bacterial counts, pollution, debris, and other man-made and natural hazards.  These runs should only be attempted by groups of experienced paddlers who are familiar with the streams.  Experienced paddlers always wear a life jacket or Class III Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and other gear appropriate for the weather and water temperatures.  Please read the River Safety link before making a decision about your paddling abilities and whether or not to attempt any of these runs.

 

River Flow Data Info Weather
BLUE RIVER  
INDIAN CREEK  

 

MILL CREEK

 

 

 

PLATTE RIVER

 

Platte_River_Story
 
 
Regional Rivers

Part of the challenge of living in the KC area is driving to distant rivers to get a whitewater fix.  Listed below are some of the gems of Missouri and Arkansas which can be a minimum of 5 hours or up to 8 hours away once you get on the backroads in Arkansas.  All of the streams listed below are natural flow which means they are rain dependent.  The exception to this listing is Rockport southwest of Little Rock, Arkansas.   However, this distance doesn't discourage the dedicated paddler and with a little advanced planning, packing, and car pooling, these drives can be quite fun!  If you feel like paddling, just keep atuned to weather reports, and start watching the water gauges listed below.  Another source of information is regional message boards which should start chattering once the rivers start to rise.  There is a large variety in river difficulty listed in these sites, so please study all the relevant information provided and don't be afraid to ask questions on the message boards about difficulties encountered on these rivers.  A good source of information is Tom Kennon's book Canoe and Kayaking the Ozarks. 

 Please read the River Safety link before making a decision about your paddling abilities and whether or not to attempt any of these runs.
River Flow Data Info Weather

  

ST. FRANCIS RIVER

Gauge Conversion

 

 

 

 

Arkansas and Ozarks Ozark Creek Summary courtesy of OWP

 

 

 

 
Playspots
Several local playspots provide opportunities for surfing and rodeo moves.   These spots are very dependent on appropriate flow conditions, and may be boatable only on rare occasions. 
 
The Kaw or Kansas River, however, provides some interesting features at most levels.  However, the playspot below the I-435 bridge in Kansas is created by "shot" rock and this creates hazards should your face or exposed portions of your body come into contact with the rocks during a roll or a swim. At certain levels, these spots can become dangerous.  Also, the risk of submerged debris is always present.  This playspot is not suitable for inexperienced boaters.  It is never advisable to run the sluice of water created on the far river right side near the water district intake outlet.  One experienced kayaker suffered a skull fracture after flipping and coming into contact with the "shot rock" in the sluice even though he was wearing appropriate protective gear.  Another kayaker has reportedly drowned at this site.  Please read the information provided in the AW site listed under info and portage around the dam on river left (the north side) if you are approaching this dam from upstream. River left and river right are determined while facing downstream.
 
At the present time, there is construction at the I-435 Kaw River bridge in Kansas City, Kansas.  This new structure will be a cofferdam and the change in the features could make playing near this dam a potentially lethal hydraulic. 
 
Please read the River Safety link before making a decision about your paddling abilities and whether or not to attempt any of these runs.
 
 

River Flow Data Info Weather

KAW AT

I-435

 

WAKARUSA HOLE