Information on Kings River
Rating: III+ *
Location: Madison Co.; Put in at Dripping Springs low water bridge
north of Hwy. 16 just east of Boston. Take out at
Hwy. 74 bridge west of Kingston.
Topo Quad(s): Weathers, Kingston
Gradient: Steep at the start and non-existent at the end...
Length: 11 mi
Gauge: There is a gauge on the downstream side of the Dripping Springs
bridge at the put-in. It is graduated in 1/10 inch increments.
Minimum is 1.0 ft., optimum from 1.5 to 2.5 ft., and if
water is running over the bridge the run is too high. The
Upper Kings is usually runnable when other area streams, such
as the Mulberry and White Rivers, are in flood.
LINK TO USGS GAUGE
Hazards: strainers, tight fast-paced rapids
Description: This run is not to be confused with the pastoral Kings R.
that Tom Kennon describes in his book "Ozark Whitewater." This is the Upper Kings that Kennon briefly mentions. A serious
class III+ run, the Upper Kings warms up for the first mile
until Kings Falls (III), a sheer drop of over six feet, is
reached. Below the falls the gradient picks up and several
class III to III+ rapids are encountered. God's Kitchen (III),
Red Rock Sluice (IV), Jester (III), Wicked Game (III+), and
Kings Throne (III+) are some of the more intense rapids. The
toughest of these is Red Rock Sluice. This one got it's name
from the red marks made by David Thrasher's open canoe
during the first descent of the creek. Scout and/or portage it
on the left. Take time to enjoy this steep, exciting stretch
because the last six miles down to the Hwy. 74 bridge are as
flat as a pancake. This character building paddle is the
price of admission for the great whitewater above. DO NOT
be tempted to shorten the run by taking out above Hwy. 74.
The land is all private, and the landowners have threatened
to tow any vehicles parked near the creek! All boaters should
have solid intermediate whitewater skills and advanced flat
water skills for this run. Seriously, be confident on fast
class III-IV water or don't mess with this part of the Kings.
Thanks to Shelby Johnson for information on this run.
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