Information on South Fourche La Fave R.

South Fourche La Fave R.

	Rating: II+
	TDCR: 2234
	Location: The uppermost put-in is the USFS campground at Hollis on Hwy. 7.
		The bottom take-out is near Aplin at the Deberrie low water
		bridge.  To get to the take-out from the west, drive towards 
		Aplin on Hwy. 60.  Just before Aplin, Hwy. 155 runs south and 
		crosses the Fouche.  There is a dirt road that veers off to
		the right immediately after the bridge and follows the Fourche.
		Follow this road and keep bearing right and you will get
		to the take out bridge.  Itís near the Deberrie cemetary, and
		it's a fairly big concrete low-water bridge with several culverts 
		in the middle. If the middle culverts are 1/2 to 2/3 full, youíll 
		have good water. If the river is over the bridge, itís probably too
		high for safe paddling. To get to the put-in at Hollis, get back on
		Hwy. 60 and head east to Fourche Junction.  Take Hwy. 7 south 
		toward Hot Springs and put-in at the USFS campground just south 
		of the bridge at Hollis.
	Topo Quad(s): Nimrod
	Gradient: ???
	Length: 11 mi.
	Season: RAIN
	Gauge: The USGS Hollis gauge should be at 3.5 for a runnable level. 
		4-5 ft is optimal, and 6 ft and up may be dangerous due to 
		log jams and meanders. Put in at Cedar Creek lake dam when 
		the creek is higher to avoid the log jams. 
	Hazards:  Log jams and pushy water when high.  Also the low water
		bridge at the take out has culverts that must be avoided. 
	Description: The first part of the river is pretty tame.  The S.
		Fourche tends to be pretty brown from runnoff due to farms
		above Hollis, but the scenery is good.  As the river just 
		bumps along, you can look around and see Forked Mountain 
		in the distance. After about a third of the way through the
		trip, the river braids and breaks into several branches 
		through a tangle of trees and flotsam.  This spot is about a half
		mile past a cabin on river left.  The first river left branch
		appears to be the best as thereís only one nasty, gown-up 
		area you have to pick a line through. Keep to the left as 
		you work through the first part and then right at the bottom. 
		You want to be pretty careful through this mess to avoid pinning
		on a tree. Eventually, the river runs back into one channel,
		runs into a large hillside as it turns left and Cedar Cr.
		comes in from river right. Cedar Cr. makes a good alternate
		put-in at high water levels (put-in at Cedar Cr. Lake below the
		dam by taking FR 86 off of Hwy. 7 just south of Hollis, then 
		go north on FR 29150 through a clear cut until you get to
		an intersection, and follow the small road that runs northeast and
		uphill to the dam). About 200 yards downstream from Cedar Cr. is 
		the first significant rapid (class II+), called "Blockhead" 
		because it features a large blocky boulder on river right that
		much of the water funnels into. Above the rock and in the
		middle of the flow is another smaller rock that must be
		missed. When water is flowing over the rock, it makes for a 
		nice "boof" move. Below this rapid, you can play in the jet and 
		eddylines caused by Blockhead Rock. A half mile below Blockhead, 
		another rapid appears as you approach a rocky hogback ridge
		that cuts into the river from the left. This rapid has no
		real obstacles but is fun, fast water. This is a spot to
		appreciate how unique the scenery on the S. Fourche is.
		It looks like no other river in Arkansas, as it cuts through 
		the rocky and sparesely vegetated east/west Ouachita ridges. If 
		you paddle the river in winter, the barren slopes are reminicient
		of the desert runs in the West.  The midpoint of the trip comes
		at one of the few roads that crosses the river, FR 210.
		There's no bridge, but you can see an old concrete tower on river 
		left: the USGS Hollis gaging station. There's a big willow jungle
		right below the road, with the best line at middle-right. A few
		hundred yards below the jungle is a large, bald ridge on river
		right that is very scenic. The action picks up again as Cove Cr.
		approaches. Thereís a nice rapid, known as "Bounce Rapid" just above 
		Cove Cr. with several eddies and then a small drop at the end.
		Soon after the entry of Cove creek the river runs into another 
		ridge and sharply turns to the east. After this point, the S. 
		Fourche slows and become a pastoral stream. There are a few more 
		rapids but not any that really demand attention. Soon, the
		river cuts back to the north between a ridge and empties into the
		Fourche Valley. Thereís a great surfing rapid about 3/4
		mile before the take out. Itís created by a ledge thatís
		pretty sharp on river left but smoothes out on river
		right. It creates a nice side surfing hole on left thatís
		easy to get into and a lot of fun to play. The S. Fourche is
		often overlooked by paddlers, but it is one of the more scenic 
		and interesting streams in the state. It has a true wilderness
		feel and the unusual scenery makes up for a somewhat murky water
		quality. If youíre looking for continuous whitewater, this river
		isnít for you, but it's a fine run for those wanting to explore 
		a new class II+ river. Thanks to T. Yamashita for information on 
		this great run!

Return to Index