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Oklahoma River

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Oklahoma River and the Boathouse DistrictA 7-mile stretch of the North Canadian River has been transformed into a series of river lakes bordered by landscaped areas, trails and recreational facilities now known as the Oklahoma River.

The official boundary zones of the Oklahoma River are Eastern Avenue (to the east) and Meridian Avenue (to the west).

Dams at Eastern, Western and May avenues raise the level of the river. Locks at Western and May avenues will allow boats to navigate the entire 7-mile length of the river project.

Trails running the length of the Oklahoma River on the north and south banks are part of the OKC Trails network and are open for runners, walkers, skaters and bikers. The Boathouse District and MAPS 3 RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater rafting and kayaking center are also along its banks.

The project was named the Oklahoma River at the behest of civic leader Ray Ackerman. He originally wanted to rename the North Canadian River all the way across the state.

A City fishing permit and state fishing license are required to fish the Oklahoma River. For safety, anglers must stay at least 100 feet from dams and locks and fishing is by rod and reel only. Consult City and state fishing regulations for more information.

Noodling is prohibited in the Oklahoma River but is allowed from the NW 10 Bridge downstream to the MacArthur bridge.


The Oklahoma River is ideal for man-powered boats such as rowing sculls, kayaks and canoes. Motorized boats are welcome, but are strictly prohibited from operating at speeds that will create a wake. All boats must have both a City permit and state registration.

The City and Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority are authorized to grant exceptions to the “no wake” rule for special events. Requests must be submitted at least three months in advance of the event.

No boats of any kind are allowed in wetlands ponds.

Waterskiing, parasailing, paraskiing, swimming, sailboarding and windsurfing are not allowed.

Public boat ramps are available at SW 15 and Portland and in Regatta Park (just south of Reno and west of the Byers Avenue Bridge and at the Exchange Avenue Bridge). 

The Western and May Avenue dams include locks. The locks will not be open to the general public on a daily basis but plans are under review to allow boaters to traverse them on special occasions. The primary purpose of the locks is for use by Oklahoma River Cruises.

Quick Facts

  • Completed: 2004
  • Cost: $53.5 million
  • Engineers: Boyle Engineering Group; Triad Design Group; Espey, Huston & Associates, Inc.
  • Contractors: C-P Integrated Services Inc.; Wynn Construction Co.