In the past, releases from the Broken Bow Reservoir into the
Lower Mountain Fork River (LMF) provided ideal paddling
conditions almost all year round. The water quality is cold,
clear and clean with a difficulty rating of Class II (acceptable
even for the novice). These days it pays to check the river
American Whitewater's site or call a knowledgeable outfitter
like WW Trading Post. During the summer, there are loads
of canoe and kayak outfitters that will put you on Oklahoma's
most exciting kayaking spot. Head to Broken Bow, Oklahoma
soon and paddle this Oklahoma jewel! If you are new to
kayaking, try to join a group for paddling this one so someone
will have your back. The Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers make quite
a few trips down this river, even though it gets little bony
I was getting turned over in my kayak several
times per trip on this river until I bought the spray skirt for
my Perception. I haven't flipped the boat on this river
since. It is quite easy to get 'a little bit sideways' in
the shallow waters on the Lower Mountain Fork River and
a spray skirt keeps the kayak from taking on water. A
quick hip-snap will often set you right up without even getting
Find a Spray Skirt for Your Kayak.
Remember to call ahead and reserve your canoes and kayaks at
least one day in advance. Summer afternoon float trips on the
Mt. Fork, for example, often book up.
Kayaking Over Presbyterian Falls
Our Favorite Oklahoma Paddling River!
Trip Report - 10/13/07
Fork River in Broken Bow, OK
October's unusually warm weather this year has extended the
paddling season for fair weather kayakers like Dianne and I. In
fact, we took a trip to Broken Bow, Oklahoma to
kayak my favorite Oklahoma river…the LMF!
The Lower Mountain Fork River (LMF)
The LMF River offers an exciting four mile downriver trip
that begins at the re-regulation dam, proceeds through a shallow
rock garden, then some narrow rapids and a finally a couple
small ledges with the take-out being the Highway 70 Bridge. The
fun is highly concentrated on this river. Each bend in the river
seems to offer another rocky obstacle or amazingly lovely scene.
The water is crystal clear and cold all year long. In the past,
the electrical needs of the community and the water needs of the
trout meant that this river had excellent water levels
for kayaking in even in the long hot and dry summer months.
Canoes and kayaks both commonly float this river as well as
younger folks tubing their way through the 'Rock Garden',
through 'The Chute', down 'Presbyterian Falls' and all the way
to the take-out four miles down river at the Highway 70 bridge.
Our Trip to Broken Bow
Those who know me well, know that I would love to greet the
sunrise every weekend on the banks of this fantastic river. This
is why we usually spend the night in Broken Bow, even though it
is only a couple hours from home. Sadly, this trip did not allow
me to greet the dawn on the river bank due to some
unpleasantness on the drive from Okmulgee to Broken Bow.
Although the bow of my boat has never been broken on this
river, the front-end of our pickup truck suffered mightily this
time. Dianne and I were driving to our hotel, the Hochatown
Country Lodge, when a deer leaped out in front of us on Highway
3 just outside of Rattan, Oklahoma. We were moving at highway
speed and simply could not avoid hitting the deer. The damage to
the truck included breaking our transmission cooler and leaving
us stuck on the side of the road right by the Little River Park.
The damage to the deer was even more severe.
The really nice folks at Steel's towing carried our wounded
Chevy the last 30 miles or so into Broken Bow and even delivered
both of us and our kayaks to the Hochatown Country Lodge. In the
morning Jesse, our tow truck driver, planned to try to repair
the truck enough for us to limp back home to Okmulgee. Like
everyone in this friendly little town, Jesse delivered for us
above and beyond the call of duty.
Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers Save the Day
On any other trip, the events detailed above would have
canceled any dream I had of paddling my favorite river...but
this trip was different. We recently started participating in a
new Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers Yahoo! Group that Al Want
launched. In fact, we had arranged to meet them at the hotel on
Friday night. Although Dianne and I have met other Oklahoma
kayakers through our paddling blog, this was the first time we planned a trip
through Al's new group. Al and his wife Donna were on the spot
as soon as we reached the hotel. They insisted that canceling
our kayaking trip would do nothing to repair our truck. Even
though we were unable to do our part in boat shuttling, Al and
Donna went FAR out of their way to make sure we could still run
the river. They even carried us to Jesse's shop after our
adventure to pickup our truck!
Kayaker Networks Mean Safer Paddling Trips
Everyone knows that paddling with companions is MUCH safer
than being on the water alone. Groups, like the Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers, can help you build
the relationships that will make your river adventures much more
safe and enjoyable. One thing I learned this weekend is that the
risk doesn't begin and end on the water. When taking road trips
that are even just a few hours from home, a support network of
friends can be the difference between major disasters and minor
Our LMF River Trip Details
Since Labor Day has passed, many of the canoe liveries have
shut down for the season. However, Ambush Adventures is still
open for business. Al and Donna had to make two trips from the
lodge to get all five kayaks and all six paddlers to the
outfitter. However, once we were all assembled the outfitter
wasted no time in busing us to the put-in. Kayaking the LMF in
the off-season means less crowding on the river, but fewer
hilarious boat mishaps to photograph.
The LMF is barely tame enough to be called Flatwater
Paddling, in fact Dianne and I break out the spray-skirts for
this voyage. Al and Donna had their cockpits covered as well and
they also supplied a Sit-On-Top tandem kayak for Heather and
Reed to paddle. Everyone in our group made it down the river
with dry hair, but several folks in canoes and uncovered kayaks
were not so fortunate.
As usual, the river level was good enough to avoid the need
to portage. We didn't hit the water until nearly noon, so we
didn't see a great deal of fish or wildlife. However, even in
the 'too-bright' light of the noonday sun, we managed to take
some very nice kayak pictures. I think I may switch back to my
plastic bladed paddle on my next trip. My new
lightweight, Carlisle paddle, though wonderfully light, did NOT sound too
good bouncing off the rocks! Next time I will bring
my old kayak paddle down the LMF.
Lodging for the Lower Mountain Fork River Trip
Lodging at the Hochatown Country Lodge was great. Here’s an
example: we told them we had hit a deer and would need an extra
late check-in time and to stay an extra night. They set up all
that AND gave us a discount on both nights purely out of pity.
In a nutshell, the service was as excellent as the location.
We got a Jacuzzi room for the first night. The Lodge’s
Jacuzzi room was easy to find, clean and well equipped for less
than $100. Although we couldn’t find free WiFi at the hotel,
there is an Internet cafe just a short walk from the Lodge. Also
within easy walking distance of the lodge are: a liquor store,
diner, chocolate shop, convenience store, chainsaw sculptor,
go-kart racetrack and more. Hochatown, Oklahoma is small, but
loaded with fun...just like the Lower Mountain Fork River
Dianne and I really enjoyed paddling with Al, Donna, Heather
and Reed. Flatwater Kayaking is an excellent group activity. It
offers opportunities to just paddle along slowly in groups and
talk or to venture off alone to explore for a while. Thanks for
the help Al & Company, we owe you guys some major shuttling!
I think a few others from the Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers
group are planning to head to Broken Bow this coming weekend. If
you have never paddled the LMF, I cannot recommend this river
highly enough. Get with the group and go…you have nothing to
lose but..uh…your wallet, keys, cell phones, paddles, water
bottles, beers, glasses, and anything else not dry bagged and
strapped to the boat!
Trip Report - 6/18/05 Mountain
Fork River in Broken Bow, OK
The Mountain Fork River, a tributary of Oklahoma's Little River, is quickly becoming a destination of choice among Oklahoma paddlers and fishermen alike. Due to cool water releases through the dams of Broken Bow Lake and Lake Tenkiller, both rainbow and brown trout can be caught at this year-round trout fishing area. However, this time of year the trout fishermen try to set out early enough to avoid the rush of paddlers that descend on the Lower Mountain Fork River each summer. This weekend, Dianne and I joined the mad rush down this Class II river. I very much hate to disturb fishermen, but that river is one heck of a ride!
Broken Bow's section of the Mountain Fork River is the best
Oklahoma river float trip
that Dianne and I have ever paddled on...by far!
Rental canoes and shuttle services are available in Beaver's Bend State Park and near the Highway 70 bridge. For boat rentals and camping drive five miles east of Broken Bow on US Hwy 70, then north on
Mountain Fork Park Rd and follow the signs to WW Trading Post & Canoe Rentals. You will also find several other small outfitters along Hwy 70 just a few miles out of Broken Bow.
Although not as commercialized as the Illinois River, the Mountain Fork River has several outfitters offering float trips. Since most of them are family businesses, finding their websites can be difficult... when they exist at all. At the end of this
page I'll leave you some handy links and phone numbers to get you started planning your Mountain Fork River float trip.
Fork River Float Trip Tip: To fish and see nature... float in the morning,
to see hot chicks...float in the afternoon.
The run we took twice this weekend was four miles from the dam to an outfitters place called Ambush Adventures. No rafts on this river, just tubes, canoes and kayaks. We chose two Old Town Sit Inside kayaks
(SINK's) from A.K.A. Canoe Rentals, they were excellent, straight tracking and very responsive
the two major types of kayaks.)
However, the listed weight capacity was 225 lbs. That left Yours Truly seriously pushing the weight limit, as usual! This may have been one factor in me sinking the kayak no less than 3 times per trip. Another
factor would have to be my complete lack of knowledge and training in the fine art of kayaking.
Immediately when you leave the reregulation dam canoe launch on the Mt. Fork River, you hit a fairly long rock garden that you have to pick your way though like a maze. A 'Rock Garden' refers to a complex maze of rocks in the middle of the river...basically it is a jungle-gym for
On our first attempt to cross
the Rock Garden, Dianne got her kayak lodged between two big stones in the
river. Next, canoes that were following her kayak began
bumping into the back of her lodged craft, as the river traffic
backed up. Thankfully, she managed to escape without too much insult or injury.
I can't say the same for lots of other folks that were floating the
same day. Dianne didn't even sink her kayak once the
After the rock garden, you go reach the Main Event - a couple of small
waterfalls! Being novice kayakers, we had a ball sliding down
the waterfalls, shooting the rapids and dodging the Cypress trees.
Lean back as you go over the falls to avoid 'penciling in' and
getting too much water in the boat. Also, know that you will be
moving pretty fast when you come off the waterfall, sideswipe a rock
at that point and you just might swamp the kayak...as I did a few
Of the four miles, two to three of them
were tricky, for novices like us, but not particularly dangerous whitewater. Normally, such a short trip wouldn't even give Dianne and I a good work-out, but we returned exhausted from this one. Here's
a tip, don't try to walk up the rocks of the waterfall to take
another trip down. The rocks are slippery and I darn near...I
mean 'someone' could easily break their leg on those slippery
After just a couple hours on the
water, I was worn out from dumping massive amounts of water out of my kayak and Dianne was exhausted from feverishly paddling upstream to retrieve the various cargo items that floated free from my frequent wrecks.
Although the Sit-On-Top Kayaks
(SOT's) that we have rented in the past may have been easier to
avoid sinking, I found the Sit Inside Kayaks to be more fun
We camped at a public put-in point at the Reregulation Dam. Our camping spot was only
minutes from a McDonalds and a 24-hour Wal-Mart. It was like they made the camp just for us.
Overall, floating the Mountain Fork River was an incredible experience I would recommend to anyone in the Oklahoma, Arkansas or Texas area.
-- Tom & Di | More
Float Trip Reports
Broken Bow area rental canoes and shuttle services are
available in the park (Beavers Bend) and near the Highway 70 bridge.
Here is a list of the outfitters and canoe livery operators that I
know of on the Lower Mountain Fork River. I try to update it
whenever I make a trip down there, which is not nearly often enough!
I usually prefer to pick a kayak shuttle service
that is close to the put-in (for an early launch) or close to the
take-out (no waiting at the landing for a ride). In the
interest of openness, I will confess that one of the liveries
provided Dianne and I with free shuttling once. CAUTION:
Most are Mom & Pop type businesses and they go in and out of
business fast. Call before you plan your trip and request a
canoe or kayak reservation.
Ambush Adventures (NO Credit Cards) - 580-584-2273
Canoe and kayak livery for the lower
Mountain Fork River, including Presbyterian Falls, in
southeast Oklahoma. Located right at the Hwy 70 Bridge
Take-Out! 6.5 miles SE of
Broken Bow on Hwy 70. No waiting at the landing for pickup
at the end of your float trip.
Adventures offers 4, 5 or 9 mile float trips by canoe or 1-person
kayak and/or shuttling of private boats from March through October.
Inner tubes are also available during high water levels.
Trading Post & Canoe Rentals (Tested and Approved)
Lower Mountain Fork canoe & kayak outfitter
and sales offering lodging, fishing packages, picnic
supplies, trout flies, tackle, souvenirs and snacks.
Open Seasonally March through October.
This is the
outfitter located closest to the Put-in for the
traditional LMF River kayaking trips. The owner is
also the visionary who created the first canoe livery in the
Broken Bow area.
He knows this river like a fat man knows bacon! In my
experience, WW is also the first outfitter to roll out of
bed in the morning and start launching boats. If you are a
photographer or trout fisherman hoping to get on the river
at dawn...go with WW.
Looking for a multi-day float trip on the
Lower Mountain Fork River? WW offers and 18-Mile
float trip mixing rapids, flatwater and canoe camping on the
Mt. Fork River!
WW Trading Post & Canoe Rentals is located five miles east of Broken Bow on US 70, north on
Mountain Fork Park Rd (the road to the put-in), follow the signs to
Trading Post & Canoe Rentals.
Beaver's Bend Whitewater Canoe Rental (Tested
Canoe and kayak outfitter for the lower Mountain Fork
River. Hwy 70 - 3.5 Miles East of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Features
the usual 4, 5 and 9 mile trips, as well as an 18 mile
overnight trip, through the Presbyterian Falls area.
Outfitters: Gena & Paul Jordan
Hwy 70 East 3.5 Miles
Broken Bow, Ok. 74728
These folks are real nice and they are real easy to find.
We rented a couple of their Old Town Otter kayaks for the
great little run on the Lower Mt. Fork.
Riverside Canoe Rental
Lower Mountain Fork River canoe outfitter; float trips
available; fishing packages; RV hookups. Open all year.
7 mi. E on Hwy 70
Broken Bow, OK 74728
Mountain Fork River Floats
Upper Mountain Fork River canoe outfitter; float trips
available; also offer fishing packages. Days/Hours Open: Open
Hwy 259 S, then Hwy 4 E, follow signs
181 Beach Rd
Smithville, OK 74957
Beavers Bend River Floats
(Lower & Upper Mt. Fork River)
Canoes $21, Kayaks $10.50. No reservations,
Open 9am to 5pm
March Through October
Broken Bow, OK
Wild Goose Canoe & Kayak Rentals
8 Mile Trip:
5 Mile Trip:
Broken Bow, OK
Beavers Bend Marina
Located in the heart of Beavers Bend Resort Park
Rt. 4 Box 77-2
Broken Bow, OK 74728
Beavers Bend Land & Water Park
Bumper boats, paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, swim beach,
Located in Beavers Bend Resort Park.
Broken Bow, OK
Yippie Kayo Kayaks
Open all week from 8:30am until 6:00pm
Phone: 580-306-2279 or 580-584-2025
Season: May 1st - October 15
Yippie Kayo Kayaks is on Facebook.
580-835-2772 or 580-306-3482
Canoe rental $40.00 for ( 4HRS) Kayak rental $ 25.00 (4
Price includes: canoe/ kayak, paddles, life preservers and
shuttle service. Shuttle service for customer owned canoe/
Float times: 9:00am 10:30am 12:00pm 1:30pm 2:30pm 7 days a
Call for canoe and kayak reservations.
Oklahoma Float Trip Outfitters List.
Find a Spray Skirt for Your Kayak.
Presbyterian Falls - LMF River Kayaking
Time to regroup and dump the water out!
Elk River Outfitters
Buffalo River Outfitters
Eureka Springs Float Trips
Buying Vs. Renting Kayaks
putting together a page about kayaking spots in the
parts of Texas that are close to Oklahoma.
Recently, we visited Caddo Lake
in Texas for kayaking and sightseeing. It offers ancient a flooded Cypress tree
forest that looks like the LMF on steroids or a set from the movie Avatar.
Caddo Lake in Texas offers many miles of flooded Bald Cypress tree forests, perfect for flatwater paddlers.
Caddo Lake Trip -
Kayaking in Northeast Texas
Cabins for Mt. Fork River Paddlers
River Top Resort
Lower Mountain Fork River in Broken Bow Oklahoma. Large
cabin with Jacuzzi.
Eagle Ridge Cabins - Broken Bow
New Cabins with Hot Tubs and Sat. TV near Broken Bow Lake in
Beavers Bend Lodging
Cabin Rentals in Broken Bow Oklahoma, many with hot tubs.
River's Bend Resort on Oklahoma's Glover River
Luxury Cabins on lower Glover River about 10 miles west of
Broken Bow, OK.
Beavers Bend Log Cabins
Two privately owned luxury Oklahoma cabins just
north of Broken Bow, Oklahoma.