Big Piney Creek

The Big Piney Creek is designated as a National Wild & Scenic River that begins near the community of Fallsville and flows east and south for 57 miles to its junction with the Arkansas River. The river's outstandingly remarkable values include scenery, recreation, fish, botany and geology.

The distinctive scenery of Big Piney Creek is characterized by its sandstone bluffs, waterfalls, still pools and stands of oak, hickory and pine. Principal recreation activities in the corridor include canoeing, camping, swimming and fishing. The river is very popular for canoeing, with Class I to III rapids. It is considered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to be an outstanding sportfishing river, with smallmouth bass and spotted bass the most sought-after species.

Big Piney supports plant species considered by the Arkansas Heritage Commission to be sensitive. One species, Alabama snow-wreath, is currently under study for listing as a federal threatened and endangered species and is already listed as threatened by the state of Arkansas. The corridor also includes the Waldo Mountain-Wainscott Bottoms Special Interest Area, which contains diverse plant communities and plant species.

The Mississippian and lowermost Pennsylvanian rock exposed near the town of Limestone are very important to understanding the history of the southern margin of the Ozark platform. The youngest Mississippian-age rocks in North America, as well as the southernmost exposure of Morrowan-type rocks, are located in this area. These exposures create a structural window important in developing an understanding of the upper Mississippian and the basal Morrowan sequence. Many of these features are exposed along Big Piney and are of unique scenic and geologic value.

Float map of the Big Piney Creek

General Information

General Notes:

At 67 miles, Big Piney Creek is not particularly long by Arkansas standards. But mile for mile, there's no doubt it ranks among the best float streams in the state.

The best time to float the Piney is when its water level is in the 3.0-5.0 range, although the uppermost reaches may require a higher minimum reading for best conditions. At five feet and beyond, the stream is considered dangerous.

Big Piney Creek offers year-round recreation. The canoe season usually begins in late fall and can last through mid-June, depending on local rainfall. Fishing is a year-long possibility for those willing to wade-fish or drag their boats over the shoals during the drier months. And after the first frost has discouraged ticks and chiggers, hiking and backpacking are highly recommended, particularly in the 15,000-acre Hurricane Creek Wilderness just northeast of the 123 bridge.

Float Map of the Big Piney Creek


Boating - Non-Motorized

The Big Piney Creek is a federally designated Wild & Scenic River. The river levels are rain-based, so the spring rains can provide exciting canoeing opportunities. Know before you go. Check the water levels before heading out.

There are several access points to the Big Piney. Check out the canoeing map for more information.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities