For your Kayak River fun on the
Bryant and N. Fork Rivers of Southern Missouri

While staying at Cactus Canyon Campground why not rent a kayak and join in the wonderful fun of floating the Bryant Creek and N. Fork River? Both waterways have stunning views, animals and offer a great opportunity for some fun in the sun.

Kayak Rental Options

The Rivers

Kayak Photos

Reserve a Kayak for your trip

Important information and Q/A

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Cactus Canyon Campground Website

Here are answers to many of the frequently asked questions about kayaking in our region. Please contact me if you need any further information or have specific questions or concerns that have not been addressed.

How safe is kayaking these streams? The Bryant Creek and North Fork River water systems are both very gentle, spring fed streams. These streams are Class A and Class I rapids. What does that mean?

  • Class A: Lake water. Still. No perceptible movement.

  • Class I: Easy. Smooth water; light riffles; clear passages, occasional sand banks and gentle curves. The most difficult problems might arise when paddling around bridges and other obvious obstructions.

Of course, with a greater flow of water these classifications could change. The water level fluctuates continuously due to constant movement of water and climatic conditions such as rainfall or drought. No Kayaking will be allowed during flood stages of the river.

Are there obstacles in the river? The river is generally kept clean of debris, however, on occasion you might encounter a tree that has fallen and is blocking your passage. In that case, you would need to portage around the obstacle. In some spots during the summer, you might find that the water level is too low to paddle through. Please DO NOT scoot your kayak through the gravel/rock. We request that you get out and port over the gravel, then reset into the water to avoid damage to the kayak.

What is the water like in the river? The temperature of the water can range from cold to quite warm in the heat of a summer day. Like temperature, depth can vary greatly from only a few inches to as much as 10+ feet deep, depending on the section of the river and present conditions. Caution is needed while kayaking the waterways here in Missouri.

Will I get wet when kayaking? YES you will get wet. You will be stepping in the water to get into and out of your kayak. There is also the potential to spill in your kayak and land in the water.

What shall I wear? Wear lightweight shorts that can dry quickly, a light colored shirt, hat and sunglasses. Good water shoes are important. Wear shoes that will remain securely on your feet when you are in the water.

What should I bring? Bring sunscreen, drinking water and snacks/lunch. It’s useful to have an eyewear retainer for your glasses.

What should I NOT bring? Do not bring anything that you can NOT afford to lose like jewelry, hearing aids, cameras, or cell phones.

Can I be nude on the river? NO. Absolutely no nudity is allowed on any public waterway in the state of Missouri. Keep your clothes on! You can be fined for being nude in public.

Can I bring alcohol to drink on the river? We strongly advise that you avoid alcohol consumption while kayaking. Your safety is primary and decisions that require quick maneuverability are needed to be able to move safely down our streams. Any impairment can pose risks to your own well-being and that of others around you.

What do I do with garbage I have? What you pack in, you MUST pack out. Bring an extra bag for your trash and help keep the rivers clean. If you see other trash on the river, please pick it up and dispose of it properly. Thanks for helping us keep our waterways pristine.

When are trips scheduled? All trips should launch no later than mid morning. Trip length will vary depending on the distance of the trip and the known water flow levels; trip times will be scheduled accordingly. However, you must plan to finish your trip a couple of hours before sunset to eliminate the risk of being on the river after dark. Additionally, the rivers are not floatable during flood conditions. When flooding occurs, dangerous debris can be moving in the water or lodged in the river, creating a hazardous boating environment. HSR LLC will advise if the river is not passable.

Can I go fishing on the river? Yes, you can fish on the rivers here in Missouri. A Missouri state fishing license is required and can be obtained from the local Wal-Mart.

What are the pick up times? The pick up time for any group ported to and from the river is very specific and precise. You must arrive no later than the HSR LCC recommended time of pick up. Any purposeful delay in your arrival beyond the pick up time can jeopardize your future trips with HSR LLC.

What do I do in case of an emergency on the river? This is a wilderness area and there are no emergency services available until you arrive at the take out location. If an emergency arises while on the river, you must handle it the best you can. There are NO places to stop and call for help. Please float responsibly and take good care of yourself on the river!

Will I see any wildlife? YES, you can see a great variety of birds such as kingfishers, bald and golden eagles, osprey, owls, herons (blue and lesser), turkey, and different species of woodpeckers. You might also see mink, otter, beaver, bobcat, fox, bear, raccoon, deer and other animals. Water wildlife includes trout, bass, alligator gar, and turtles. And yes, we do have a variety of river snakes as well; all are harmless and usually just in transit across the river. Please do not make physical contact with any wildlife you encounter, for their safety as well as yours.

What is the plant life? We have a great variety of flora in the area. Our rivers nourish diverse and abundant trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. Beauty abounds in these Ozark woods with a succession of plants in bloom and the fall wild fruits and turning leaves. Remember that there are a few plants that can hurt you such as poison ivy and oak as well as stinging nettles, so be smart about what you touch.