Information on Frog Bayou
Location: Crawford Co.;
S1: Put in at Ash St. low water bridge in Mountainburg;
Take out at Silver Bridge at Hwy. 282 south of
S2: Take out at Grotto (next Hwy. 282 low water bridge south
S3: Take out at Lancaster low water bridge (next low water
bridge going south of Grotto).
S4: Take out at Hwy. 282 bridge at Rudy.
Topo Quad(s): Mountainburg, Mountainburg SW, Rudy
Gradient: less than 20 fpm
Length: S1: 3.5 mi.
S2: 6.5 mi.
S3: 3.5 mi.
S4: 8 mi.
Season: FALL, SPRING
Gauge: Look for the USGS gauge at Rudy
to be between 2.7 and 5.0 feet for a good run.
Hazards: watch out for downed trees and strainers
Description: The Frog is an excellent class II run in the southern
Ozarks. The river stays at a runnable level for much of the fall
and spring and features a steady diet of class II and II+ drops
that will challenge beginning boaters. All of the sections from
Mountainburg down have some great rapids and all have the
potential for tree strainers to fall into the river, so watch
out for those hazards. The banks of the Frog are almost all
private property, so treat the land and landowners with respect.
At high water levels, the Frog can be run above L. Fort Smith,
and Clear Cr. is another challenging high water option, but
such runs are relatively rare. The stream can also be run below
Rudy, where it is a slower class I-II float. The section that
draws the most boaters is the section from Lancaster low water
bridge to Rudy (sometimes called the "Ribbit Run"). The class
II rapids in this stretch are long, twisting, and closely
spaced, making it one of the best stretches of beginner-
intermediate paddling in the state. Also, at most levels
surfing and play opportunities for advanced paddlers abound.
The first ledge below the Lancaster put-in is a great
surfing spot where paddlers tend to wear themselves out
before they even start the run. Waterfall Drop is just around
the corner, a good example of the surprisingly beautiful scenery
on this part of the creek. When a bluff bends the river back
to the left, watch for a series of fast rapids finishing with
"The Pourover". Powerful cross currents, rocks, and holes
make the rapid a challenging class II+ run at most levels and
kayakers can get vertical in the two pourover spots at lower
levels (between 2.9 and 3.3 feet is best for the upper
rock and 3.5 - 3.8 is good for the lower one). Railroad
Trestle #1 just downstream features very friendly surfing
waves and holes at all but the highest levels. Plenty more
good rapids follow: Five Eddies, Railroad Trestle #2, Rapid
Transit, Squirter's Eddy, and finally Canyon Rapids
(aka "Invisible Rock"). This last one is less than a half-mile
from the takeout in Rudy, and it features one of the
most difficult to see pourover rocks in the state. Most
of the action can be missed by staying far left, and the
run down the right side is for would-be heros only! Don't
let the "Bayou" in the name fool you - the Frog is as good a
class II whitewater run as you will find!
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