The Amazing Arkansas River

Your Water Colorado Blog

By Tom Pelikan, The Arkansas River Coalition

The Arkansas is an amazing river, from the mountains near Leadville, across the plains east of I-25 into western Kansas, around the Great Bend and south to Wichita and through Kaw Lake into Oklahoma, then to Tulsa where it becomes a navigable river with ocean-going barges all the way through Arkansas to the Mississippi. Learn how an interstate compact divides the Arkansas’ waters between states.

It’s America’s sixth-longest river at right around 1,469 miles with two of the top 20, the 13th, the Canadian and the 20th, the Cimarron, flowing into it, with a seven-state watershed, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. As you’d expect with such a big river system, it has incredible biological, agricultural, recreational and historical diversity.

Conifers of all sorts, from Pinon Pines to Douglas Firs, hold the high country. Cottonwoods and…

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