Dallas Downriver Club

Illinois River near Tahlequah, Ok

Date: September 18-20, 2021 Sponsor: DDRC
River: Illinois, NE Oklahoma Trip Leader: Bryan Jackson 
Reach: TBD by water levels Phone: 972-979-2519
Difficulty: Class I * (See scale below) E-mail: FCO@Down-River.com
Rendezvous: Payton's Place, 9:00 AM Saturday and Sunday
Campground: Payton's Place

Trip Description:

This is a trip along the beautiful Illinois River located in Northeastern Oklahoma. This is a day trip paddle on Saturday with a distance of about 12 miles. We will stop for lunch about midway. This section of the river is gentle and clear with good fishing and some wildlife viewing opportunity in the morning and. We will meet at Peyton's Place Resort at 9am on  Saturday to run our shuttle and target being first stroke by 10am. It is a fairly long drive from Dallas, so you may want to drive up may want to drive up the night before you want to paddle. We will have a Potluck supper Saturday night We will also do a short paddle Sunday before heading home.

Peyton's Place offers Tent and RV camping as well as cabins. I would make reservations early though as RV spots and Cabins fill up fast in the fall. 

Gear Requirements:

Almost any river worthy boat will suffice for this flat water trip. Bring PFD's, a whistle for each person. Seotember should be mild, but could be cool at night. Bring sun protection and light rain gear just in case. Also bring everything you may want for camping - tent, sleeping bag, chair, etc.


We will have lunch on the river Saturday, so bring a small cooler or bag for it, but PLEASE - NO GLASS OR FOAM POLYSTYRENE STYROFOAM CONTAINERS! We will have a potluck on Saturday night. Bring your own breakfast also

Backup Plan:



This reach of the Illinois River is located in Cherokee County on SH 10 just northeast of Tahlequah.

From Dallas

From Dallas, follow US 75N to McAlester

Follow US 69N to OK 165E (south of Muskogee)

Turn EAST (right) onto US 62E / OK 10N (east of Muskogee), go through Tahlequah

Turn RIGHT on US 62E / OK 10N, and then drive out of Tahlequah to the SH 10 split

Turn LEFT where OK 10N splits from US 62E

Go approximately 9 miles, and Peyton's Place will be on the right side of the highway.

Illinois River map

* International Scale of River Difficulty

Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight, self-rescue is easy.

Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed.

Class III: Intermediate. Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims.

Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require "must" moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting is necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong eskimo roll is highly recommended.

Class V: Expert. Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to above average endangerment. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential for survival.

Class VI: Extreme. One grade more difficult than Class V. These runs often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. This class does not represent drops thought to be unrunnable, but may include rapids which are only occasionally run.

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Last updated May 4, 2021