Come and join us in one of the most unique, challenging, and fun scouting events in the country. The National White River Canoe Race will take you down some of the most scenic country in America. The race is an adventure of over a hundred miles from the heart of the Ozark Mountains near Bull Shoals Lake to the foothills of Batesville, Arkansas.


Starting on day one (Thursday), the race starts in the shadow of Bull Shoals dam. Water releases from the dam ensure that good time is made down the river even by inexperienced teams. There are not many obstructions in the river to worry about but the fog can be heavy early in the morning. Watch out for fishing boats and their fishing lines! They cannot see you very well either in the fog and they will not necessarily reel in their lines just because you are racing a canoe past them. After the start, the vehicles with the extra paddlers must take off for Cotter City Park boat ramp to be ready for the first change out. The first leg will take between 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes. No time can be wasted by the vehicles heading to Cotter. Once the first paddlers come in, they get out of the canoe and the second set of two paddlers get in and are off to Buffalo City the site of the second change out. The change out is very important. Canoes can easily be capsized by over anxious scouts! Be careful. The heat to Buffalo City takes a little shorter time than the first leg. The vehicles then quickly head off for Buffalo City with the team members who will paddle the last leg from Buffalo City to Norfork. This leg is even shorter than the second leg. The race clock continues to run during all three heats. There is no rest time at the change outs. Once everyone is in at Norfork, we head up to Quarry Park to camp. The meal is at 6:00 pm at the pavilion located near the dam.

The second day starts where the first day ended at Norfork. The change out this day is at Calico Rock. The fourth leg from North Fork to Calico will take about 2 hours. The fifth leg from Calico to Sylamore will take about the same amount of time. After everyone is in, we camp nearby at the Sylamore Creek Campground. The meal is at 6:00 pm and there is a talent show afterward.

The third day is the hardest paddling day of all. The water has slowed down and the river is wider. The first leg takes you 21 miles from the Sylamore boat ramp to Dam No. 3 where the canoes clock out. Guion bridge may be used as a change out point, but this will be decided by vote at the race. Cruising canoes will paddle the entire leg with no change out. This will be the longest leg of the race and may take teams over 3 hours to complete. Extreme care should be taken when canoes are approaching Dam No. 3. Canoes will be directed to the right bank by buoys and safety boats will be positioned nearby to assist canoes. The canoes must be quickly removed from the water once they pass the finish line and clock out. The canoes will be carried by their teams members and adults to the put-in below Dam No. 3. Assistance will be needed to carry the safety boats around the dam also. Once all the canoes are in and we have a short rest, the 7th leg starts below Dam No. 3 and goes to Dam No. 2. Approaches to the dam are handled like before and the canoes and safety boats are carried around the dam and put in just below Dam No. 2. After all the canoes are in and after a short rest, we start the last leg of the race to Batesville. The 8th leg is 8.8 miles.


Camping spots in nicely equipped parks are provided for scouts, family, and others attending the race as part of the entry fee. These are tent campsites with picnic tables but no electrical hookups. You may bring campers, pop-ups, or tents. Showers and rest rooms are available. Being located along the river, the air temperature is not that bad. If you need electrical hookups or prefer a motel, reservations must be made separately and the cost is additional.

Day Town Campground Coordinates
Wednesday Bull Shoals, AR White River State Park 36°21'09"N 92°35'33"W
Thursday Calico Rock, AR City Park
Friday Allison Sylamore Creek Camp 35°56'29"N 92°07'05"W
Saturday (Optional) Batesville, AR Speedway RV Park 35°44'01"N 91°40'18"W


Anyone paying the $35 registration fee will have their four evening meals provided (Wed - Sat). Breakfast and lunch are the responsibility of each scout/adult attending.

Day Entree Location Provided By
Wed Spaghetti Pavilion Gastons Resort
Friday Burgers Sylamore Creek Scouts
Saturday Hotdogs Kennedy Park Kiwanis & Rotary