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This page is sponsored courtesy of MarVal Family Camping Resort. Make your Spring Break reservations to vacation in Oklahoma cabins.

MarVal Resort and Family Campground
Lake Tenkiller
Route 1, Box 314M,
Gore, OK 74435
5 miles below Lake Tenkiller Dam.

Marval Family Camping Resort welcomes you to our haven of 105 acres in the foothills of the Oklahoma Ozarks on ½ mile frontage of the Lower Illinois River 5 miles below Lake Tenkiller Dam. Besides log cabins and site rentals, we have a swimming pool, 9 hole mini golf course, 24-hour laundry room, game room, snack bar, playground, sand volleyball court, half court basketball, 2-1/2 mile nature trail, horseback riding and hay rides in season, planned activities for the kids and lots of open or wooded space for your pleasure.

The Lower Illinois River is a designated trout fishing stream where anglers will find rainbow and brown trout, record stripers, walleye, crappie, catfish and bass. Every person fishing MUST have a trout license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and a fishing license if 16 or older (all available in the Welcome Center). The river is stocked every other week in July through March and once a week in April.

Marval Resort was rated Large Park of the Year from the Oklahoma Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds for 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 and was honored with the Redbud Merit Award from the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department for 2000.


Horseback Riding, Video Games & Pool Tables






The Honeymoon Cottage has a whirlpool tub and VCR

Golf Carts Available

Horseback Riding

4 Deluxe Lodges

2 Indoor Meeting Rooms w/kitchen

Cable TV


Name/Town/Route Length Class Put-In Takeout Comments
Baron Fork River,
Baron to Welling
28 Miles Easy/II US 59 bridge south of Westville Southwest to Welling Bridge east of Tahlequah Narrow run through forested limestone bluffs feature several small rapids, Portages, Oklahoma Scenic River
Blue River

Camping Info

Fly Fishing

From Tishomingo Oklahoma, go 5 miles N on Highway 377, 4 1/2 miles E to Blue River, or from Tishomingo go 3 miles E on Highway 78 and 5 miles N on Bullard Chapel Rd. Blue River is 1 hour and 45 minutes from Oklahoma City, Dallas, Texas and Tulsa. Blue River is within an hour and a half from many cities in North Texas.

Approximately 1,000 acres of picturesque southeastern Oklahoma landscape maintained by the Department of Wildlife Conservation. A little more than six miles of river runs through it. Area use is free; must have fishing and hunting licenses. Trout season is November 1 through March 31. Camping facilities available only at the Blue River Campground; special access provided for handicapped persons confined to wheelchairs.

Tishomingo, OK 73460
Business Phone: 580-443-5728
4 1/2 miles east of Hwy 377 on Blue River Road. Blue River Road is a few miles south of the Hwy 377/Hwy 7 intersection. Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing

Scottys Blue River One Stop is located on the corner to the entrance of Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area. This family owned business has been in business for over ten years and caters to fishermen, vacationers, RV owners, hunters, hikers, photographers and all who love the great outdoors. Scottys has a complete line of fishing supplies, picnic supplies, propane, gasoline, cold drinks, ice and groceries, plus showers and restrooms are available. And you can always count on good information at Scottys. Make your plans today for your "getaway" to Blue River and be sure to stop by the store and say hello. Our hours of operation are from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Grill closes at 6 p.m.


This river is mainly for fishing year round. Is also designated for Trout Fishing from November 1 to March 31.
Fishing is good all year around and anglers will find catfish, native bass, bream and panfish. From November 1 through March 31, Blue River is a designated trout stream. Each year, the Blue River Association sponsors two trout derbies. Anglers from across the country attend these derbies to fish and compete for cash prizes, awards, and trophies. The first derby is held in November on Veteran's Day Weekend, with the second derby in February on President's Day Weekend. Anglers can always look forward to some great trout fishing and a great time, and there is always lots of prizes for the young anglers. Make plans now to attend both derbies. For more information call Scotty McCarthick at 580-371-9288 or e-mail me at the above address.


Glover River, Bethel to Glover 23 Miles Moderate/III CR 56000 Bridge Glover Bridge Scenic, technical run. Low-water bridges and rock gardens create natural dams and chutes. Densely forested hills along river, Portages.
Illinois River, Watts to Tahlequah
Upper Illinois
57 Miles Easy/II US 59 Bridge US 62 Bridge, Riverside Park Access area Clear water and mild rapids through Ozark foothills. Access areas, campgrounds and canoe rentals, Oklahoma Scenic River
Lower Illinois          
Kiamichi River 165 Miles Easy-moderate II-III First put in off SH 88 above SH 63 US Highway 259 at Big Cedar There are two reaches of the Kiamichi River where paddlers usually go to play. These are the Upper Kiamichi, near the headwaters, and the slightly flatter section near Antlers, that is very popular with recreational canoeists, kayakers and rafters. Campground, cabins, canoe trips, tubing, horseback riding, gold prospecting, RV camping, tent camping, fishing, swimming, bird watching, mountain scenery, river frontage, open year around. Nice clear water
Mountain Fork River, Smithville to the Narrows 9 Miles Easy-moderate
SR 4 Bridge The Narrows Fast moving run through clear, wide stream. Sharp rock drop-offs interspersed with rapids. Oklahoma Scenic River
Spring River, Quapaw to Wyandotte 15 Miles Easy/II Bicentennial State Park access area Twin Bridges State Park access area Quiet float along wide, shallow stream bed. Scenic 50-100 foot high bluffs
Washita River 626 Miles       Best area to Float is thru the Arbuckles near Davis 350 ft. granite Gorge. River water is red and sandy The river bisects the heart of the Anadarko Basin, according to the USGS the Anadarko Basin is the fifth largest natural gas formation area discovered in the United States.


I took this picture late summer of 2010 below the Broken Bow Lake Dam © ShopOklahoma (Spillway Creek)

Back to Shopoklahoma Recreation - Fishing License Info plus more

Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission

Beavers Bend Fly Shop

Big Kiamichi Ranch Private Ranch in the Kiamichi's with fly fishing lakes and streams

Cache Creek Fly Shop

MarVal Trout Camp - Lower Illinois - Tahlequah

Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation-Fisheries Division.

The Upper Mountain Fork, Glover, and Eagle Fork rivers reside within the Honobia-Three Rivers Wildlife Management area. Encompassing 930,000 acres of Oachita National Forest and Weyerhauser-owned timberlands, the Honobia-Three Rivers WMA is home to deer, wild hogs, wild turkey, black bear, mountain lions, and elk.

List of Oklahoma Rivers

Where to Go
There are three designated scenic rivers in Oklahoma offering commercial outfitter services. These are the Illinois, Upper Mountain Fork, and Baron Fork Creek. In addition to these areas, there are five other rivers in Oklahoma that can be floated, which are the Lower Mountain Fork, Kiamichi and Glover in far southeastern Oklahoma, the Washita in south-central Oklahoma, and the Spring River in the far northeast. More information on these locations can be found by contacting the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission.

Rivers are rated according to rapids and water levels, with a Class A rating the least difficult, and a Class VI rating the most difficult. Most rivers in Oklahoma are given a Class II rating, which translates to Moderate, with medium-quick water, rapids with regular waves, and required maneuvering.

Certainly the most well-known scenic river in Oklahoma is the Illinois in the eastern part of the state near Tahlequah with some 40 floatable miles. Each year, more than 180,000 people float this Class II river, enjoying the picturesque bluffs, rocky islands and diverse fish populations. The Illinois empties into Lake Tenkiller which is a beautiful and extremely popular outdoor destination as well. Order your free Lake Tenkiller Guide online for more information. With cool, swift-moving waters that range from a foot to several feet deep, the Illinois River is perfect for those who not only love to paddle, but also enjoy beaching the boat for a dip in some fantastic swimming holes. Finding canoe, raft, kayak, and inner tube outfitters for the Illinois River is a breeze. Scenic Highway 10 that runs along the banks of the river is lined with several top-notch outfitters that will rent you a boat and transport you up river. Float trips range in length from 6 miles to 40 miles. Many of the outfitters also offer campgrounds, cabins and lodges for those who want to spend some time in the beautiful river area.

In southeastern Oklahoma, above Broken Bow Lake you'll find the Upper Mountain Fork, a Class I-II+ river with approximately 28 floatable miles. Due to low water levels during summer months, floaters typically use this river in spring, early summer and late fall. Below the lake, is the Lower Mountain Fork, a popular trout stream that also offers up to 18 miles of floatable river with a Class I-II rating. A favorite spot here is Presbyterian Falls, where the river has a three foot drop. Just a half mile downstream, floaters can take a break and enjoy a swimming hole with rope swing, picnic area and gravel beach bar. Adjacent to the Ouachita National Forest, the Upper and Lower Mountain Fork provide a spectacular wilderness backdrop, with several cabin operators also in the area to make your getaway more enjoyable. Gorgeous Beavers Bend State Park is also nearby, with the Mountain Fork River running through the park. The Glover River, also in the area, offers 25 miles of Class II+ floating, not to mention plenty of solitude and natural beauty. No rentals are available here through commercial outfitters, although some cabin operators offer the use of a canoe during your stay with them.

In northeast Oklahoma, the Spring River provides visitors with a Class I float, which is ideal for all ages. This scenic and non-congested river offers about 29 floatable miles, from Baxter Springs near the Kansas-Oklahoma border to Grand Lake where the river empties. Blue Hole Canoe Floats is a full-service outfitter on the Spring River featuring 4-mile to 29-mile floats from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Weekend trips before or after these dates may be accommodated with advance notice.

What You'll Need - When to Go - What It'll Cost
Most recreational floaters rent their boat from a local outfitter, choosing from a raft, kayak or canoe, in order of preference. Inner tubes have also become more popular in recent years, with nearly half of the Illinois River outfitters offering these. Selecting the right water craft is something the outfitter can help you with. But here are some basics. Choose a raft if you're with a group, not in a hurry, and want the least risk of capsizing. If you plan on fishing, spending the night along the river, or are transporting supplies, a canoe is your best choice. Kayaks are for those who want to get down the river more quickly, or be challenged by white water or obstacles. If you're using your own craft, it must display a user decal ($1 fee) issued by the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission.

Oklahoma's rivers require little in the way of special clothing or equipment. Most floaters simply wear a bathing suit; many bring along a t-shirt and a towel. Several of the rivers are rock-bottomed, so sturdy footwear is a must, preferably lightweight watersport shoes or river sandals, but an old pair of tennis shoes works just fine. Also don't forget the sunscreen and a brimmed hat for sun protection. A gear bag is a great idea to hold your drinking water, snacks, dry clothing, sunscreen and bug repellent. Pack these items in a waterproof drybag and tie to the boat. If you wear eyeglasses, use a strap for attaching them to your head. Another word of advice -- put $5 in your pocket, leave anything you don't want to lose in your trunk, and check your car keys with the outfitter.

The best times to float are March through early November with the summer months being the peak of activity on the rivers. Almost all outfitters operate on a daily basis from June through August, and most will accommodate a float trip during the earlier and later months with advance notice. If you are looking for some solitude and don't necessarily want to swim, spring and fall are ideal times to take to the rivers. Added bonuses during these months include an occasional sighting of bald eagles in early spring, and the change in foliage during autumn, not to mention the cooler temperatures. If traveling during a summer weekend, calling ahead for a reservation, particularly during a holiday weekend, is a good idea.

The average cost to float the Illinois River is $25 per person. On the Mountain Fork, float trips are charged per boat, starting at $25 per canoe and $22 per kayak for a 4 mile trip. A floater will spend an average of $55 per day on food, lodging, gas and other amenities along the Illinois, and approximately $85 per day on the Mountain Fork. (prices subject to change)

Safety and Regulations
As with other sports or activities, there are some basic safety rules to be followed to ensure the most enjoyable experience possible. Wear a life jacket or vest or carry them within reach in your boat. Many life jackets are now lightweight and comfortable to wear (state law requires children 12 and under to have a personal flotation device on at all times). If you rent a boat, your outfitter will provide life jackets for you. Take a buddy or companion with you--there is safety in numbers, and it's simply easier to maneuver a canoe when there are two of you paddling. Never operate a boat of any kind under the influence, and if you want to avoid severe injury or even death, do not dive head first into the water. Other recommendations from the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission include:

  • no horseplay while on the river

  • follow the "pack it in, pack it out" rule

  • take thirst-quenching drinks like water and Gatorade

  • glass and styrofoam containers are prohibited on the river by law, and punishable by fine

  • do not tie canoes or rafts together

  • signal for help, if needed, with three sharp blasts from a whistle or air horn

Outfitters and Their Services
What can you expect from an outfitter? If you're a first-time floater, inform your outfitter guide of this, so that adequate instruction can be given prior to your launch. Small children are not encouraged to float, although discretion is often left to the parents. Outfitters will transport you from their location to an access point up the river, depending on the trip duration you selected, so that your destination point will be at the outfitter's location. (Some outfitters also shuttle privately owned canoes up river, with prior notice.) Just about any length of float trip can be arranged, from two hour floats to multi-day trips. Recommendations for a first-timer are to take a short trip (5-6 miles), go when it's not really hot, and when the river is not too high or too low.

Several float outfitters are found throughout Oklahoma, including the following locations:

Riverside Resort is on the northern part of the Illinois River, just south of the Chewey Bridge public access point. This family-owned operation has been in business for 51 years, and stays open daily through mid-October. Float trips range from 6 to 13 miles by canoe, 1-person kayaks, or 6-person rafts. Overnight accommodations include 12 cabins, all with kitchenettes, a group lodge that sleeps 42 people, and RV hookups and tent sites. Guests can also enjoy the use of a volleyball and basketball court and horseshoe pits.

Diamondhead Resort, also an Illinois outfitter, is considered the halfway point on the river, and is a good camp stop for those choosing a two day, overnight float trip. Three bunkhouses accommodate groups up to 134 people, and an additional 16 motel rooms are available for individuals and families. Diamondhead has a total of 43 acres, which provides for an abundance of tent camping and 22 RV sites. Other amenities feature lighted volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, basketball court, a huge gameroom and gift shop. Prepared sandwiches are available daily, and a BBQ concession is on site every other Saturday. Reservations are encouraged for Saturday floats and lodging. During weekdays, kids 10 and under can float for half price. Diamondhead is one of the few outfitters that offers a 4-person raft, along with 6- and 9-person rafts.

Ambush Adventures, the largest canoe and kayak outfitter in the Lower Mountain Fork area features 4, 5 and 9 mile float trips from March through October. Their most popular trip is the four mile float, which includes the fast rapids at Presbyterian Falls. A five mile trip is offered for those preferring calmer waters. Rates range from $28-$40 per canoe and $17-$27 per kayak. Children must be five years of age to float. Ice and restrooms are also on site.

WW Trading Post & Canoe Rentals offers 4- to 18-mile float trips by canoe or 1-person kayak along the Lower Mountain Fork River. No lodging facilities are on site, however floaters choosing the overnight trip will be provided with a private campsite location along the river. Rates are based by trip length, with a four mile float starting at $17 per kayak, and $28 per canoe. This outfitter offers the longest day trip in the area, and uses private landing points.

Mountain Fork River Floats services the upper portion of the river with 5- to 15-mile floats by canoe or kayak, primarily in spring, early summer and late fall, when water levels are more conducive to floating. Rates begin at $15 for kayaks and $30 for canoes. Guided fishing trips for smallmouth bass are also offered.

For the veteran paddler, there are some new attractions to be found along the Illinois River. A brand new water slide is now located at All American Floats. Brought in from Maine, this 80-foot-tall, $1 million slide features three chutes that empty into a large swimming pool. Outfitter services and tent camping are also available.

Extreme Mountain Sports is a new outdoor center and float operation that also offers mountain bike rentals, a ropes course, rock climbing wall, paintball and guided kayak tours, among other attractions.

New cabins have been built along the Illinois River at War Eagle Resort, Arrowhead Resort and Riverside Resort, featuring refrigerators, stoves and other upper end amenities. A complete list of Oklahoma float outfitters can be found by searching Oklahoma Activities.



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