Spring River: Dam 3 to Hardy is a 16 mile trail located near Mammoth Spring, AR. The trail is primarily used for whitewater kayaking.
I have canoed the first section of this river. I was looking for some adrenaline pumping rapids, and we found just that. A beautiful river that is perfect on a hot summer day! Hardy is a neat little historical town, and is worth a visit.
There's no getting around the fact that Spring River is chilly. After all, every hour nine million gallons of 58-degree water are hard to ignore. But it is this volume of cool water that: 1) makes the Spring River a year-round float stream, and 2) allows the river to be regularly stocked with rainbow trout.
Most Spring River canoe trips take place in the 17-mile stretch between Mammoth Spring State Park and Hardy, a historic town in northern Sharp County. This section is recommended for beginning to intermediate canoeists, and is very popular for family outings.
The first half of this section begins at the base of Dam #3, a former hydropower structure located south of Mammoth Spring. To get to the launching area, take Arkansas 342 (west off U.S. 63) for slightly less than a mile. Floaters of this nine-mile portion can look forward to numerous rapids, and even a couple of small waterfalls (both of which should be portaged in high water). The take-out point is Many Islands Camp, a private development located between Hardy and Mammoth Spring, and about two-and-one-half miles west of U.S. 63 (directional signs are present).
The second half of the Spring River's upper portion begins at Many Islands and concludes about eight miles downstream at Hardy Beach, a public park below the U.S. 62-167 bridge on the stream's southwest (right) bank. Like the previous section, this one also features rapids and waterfalls although they're not as frequent. One especially noteworthy spot is High Falls, a six-foot waterfall which looks considerably taller than that from a canoe going over its brink.
The Spring River remains "floatable" for another thirty or so miles below Williford. While this section is seldom visited by canoeists because of the long, slow pools, folks strictly interested in a quiet fishing trip might find it ideal.