Cossatot is an Indian word for "skull crusher". The Cossatot is known as an extremely difficult (class V) whitewater stream to canoeists and kayakers and a section at Cossatot Falls in Howard County, Arkansas has been called "the most challenging section of whitewater between the Smokies and the Rockies". An 11-mile section including Cossatot Falls is designated as the Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area.
The Cossatot begins in the Ouachita Mountains northeast of Mena, Arkansas. The river flows through the Ouachita National Forest and then in a generally southerly direction until it empties into Gillham Lake. After exiting Gillham Lake the river becomes leisurely until it joins with the Little River.
Camping sites are located in the State Park area and at the nearby Brushy Creek Recreation area.
The Cossatot is listed as a National Wild and Scenic River and an Arkansas Natural and Scenic River.