Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area
This park-natural area stretches for 12 miles along the wild and scenic Cossatot River, Arkansas's premier whitewater experience renowned as the best whitewater float stream in mid-America. Located in southwest Arkansas south of Mena, the Cossatot forms Cossatot Falls, a rugged and rocky canyon that challenges the most experienced canoeists and kayakers with its Class IV and V rapids. When the water is high, the paddlers are here. This National Wild and Scenic River is a watershed basin with flow levels dependent on rainfall. After significant precipitation, the river level rises, allowing experienced paddlers the opportunity to test their skills in challenging Class IV and V whitewater. At the river's Cossatot Falls area, a rocky canyon with distinct ledges, the river drops 33 feet in elevation within 1/3 of a mile. Late winter to early spring is peak whitewater paddling season here. Class III-V whitewater is for experts only. Floatable river levels are usually limited to late-fall, winter and spring. For river stage information (in feet) from the Highway 246 access, call 870-387-3141 or visit the U.S. Geological Survey website for Cossatot River real time data at:

A real time video camera is located on the Highway 278 bridge. Click here to view.

To access National Weather Service NOAA radar for the area, go to:
Since flow levels are dependent upon rainfall, no floater services are provided on the Cossatot River.

When the water level is normal, the river's rapids are usually considered Class II-III whitewater. Outdoor enthusiasts can swim, fish and float through riffles and small rapids, from pool to pool, as they relax and enjoy the Cossatot.

The park's Brushy Creek Recreation Area at the Highway 246 bridge offers day-use facilities including picnic sites, a nature trail, restrooms, and river access. A walkway high above the river provides barrier-free access on the west side.

Tent sites (no hookups) are located at the Cossatot Falls Area (seven sites), the Sandbar Area (14 sites), and the Ed Banks Area (one site). The cost per site is $13/day (winter rate: $9.75/day). Undeveloped camping space is located at the U.S. 278 Area.

For hiking enthusiasts, the park features the 14-mile River Corridor Trail and the 3.5-mile Harris Creek Trail.

The park features a 15,000-square-foot visitor information/education center on U.S. 278 east of Wickes where the highway crosses the Cossatot. The $2.7 million facility was funded by Amendment 75, Arkansas's Conservation Amendment. The center features a large exhibit gallery, two classroom/lab rooms, a wildlife viewing area, gift shop, and park administrative offices. Explore the interpretive exhibits that share the story of “The Cossatot: A River for All Seasons" and focus is on the river's ecology. Three information kiosks provide general information about the Cossatot River, the park-natural area, and other parks and museums in Arkansas's state park system.

Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area's 5,401 acres emphasize outdoor recreation, river preservation, and environmental education. Interpretive programs are available by request. The park is managed by Arkansas State Parks and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.

Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area is located south of Mena. The northern route to the park is via Ark. 246 between Vandervoort and Athens. The southern route is via U.S. 278 between Wickes and Umpire. Weyerhaeuser Company roads provide river access.

Contact Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

1980 Highway 278 West
Wickes, Arkansas  71973
Phone: 870-385-2201


Service Area

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