I think everyone that grows up in Oklahoma has fond memories of playing along the banks of Oklahoma’s rivers. From canoeing to fishing to swimming, our rivers provide a playground for Oklahomans year-round. Our beautiful lakes get most of the attention, but if you’re looking for a more secluded spot in nature, here are 10 incredible rivers in Oklahoma that are worth exploring.
1. Upper Mountain Fork River
The Upper Mountain Fork River offers 31.7 miles of canoeing or kayaking from Hatfield, Arkansas to Broken Bow Lake. This part of Mountain Fork River has Class I and II rapids. clear water, fishing for Smallmouth Bass and other species, and excellent scenery with pine forests covering the hills and bluffs along the river.
2. South Canadian River
The Canadian River is sometimes referred to as the South Canadian River to differentiate it from the North Canadian River that flows into it. It is the longest tributary of the Arkansas River, at 906 miles long.
3. Red River of the South
The Red River is a major tributary of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers in the southern U.S. The total length of the river is 1,360 miles. In the photo above, Oklahoma is on the left, Texas is to the right, and the border between the two states runs along the south (right) bank of the river.
4. North Canadian River
The North Canadian River is a tributary of the Canadian River, approximately 441 miles long, that flows through New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. A seven-mile portion of the river flowing through Oklahoma City was renamed the Oklahoma River in 2004.
5. Lower Illinois River
For the fishermen, the Lower Illinois River has year-round trout fishing and trophy striper fishing near Gore, OK (below Lake Tenkiller).
6. Upper Illinois River
The Upper Illinois River is located in the Oklahoma Ozark Hills and best known for its float trips. It is an easy flowing Class II river and is said to be the best canoe stream in the state.
7. Cimarron River
The Cimarron River extends 698 miles across New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. The quality of Cimarron water is rated as poor because the river flows through natural mineral deposits, salt plains, and saline springs, where it dissolves large amounts of minerals.
8. Lower Mountain Fork River
Year-round trout fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and breathtaking scenery make this river a favorite destination in southeastern Oklahoma. About 5 miles of the river runs through Beavers Bend State Park.
9. Arkansas River
At 1,469 miles, the Arkansas River is the sixth-longest river in the United States. It runs through the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The portion that runs through Oklahoma is a typical Great Plains riverway, with wide shallow banks subject to seasonal flooding.
10. Glover River
The Glover River is remote and little known, but has Class I and II rapids, good scenery, and canoeing and kayaking, except in summer when water levels are often too low for floating. The Glover River is McCurtain County's only free flowing river, which means no dams stop its course.
What is your favorite river in Oklahoma? I like the one without the snakes…does that exist in Oklahoma?