Buffalo National River

Paddling in Arkansas & Missouri
Page 1 of 2   |  
Article Menu

The Buffalo River begins as a tiny stream in the Boston Mountains on the north side of Arkansas Highway 16 near Fallsville, Arkansas and flows approximately 140 miles to its confluence with the White River. Its entire length is protected by its own unique legislation, hence its name as our country's only"National River." It is one of the most popular streams in the nation and during the months of March through October thousands of canoeists paddle the thrilling fast water of the upper stretches and the placid pools of the middle and lower Buffalo River.

The river is surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring bluffs in the country and hardwood forests which protect the view of the surrounding farmland. This gives the paddler a feeling of remoteness which is more intense than on most other rivers in the area. The milky green water that is unique to the Ozarks is found throughout the Buffalo's entire length.

The Buffalo and its adjoining property are administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and throughout its length they have developed and maintain facilities and improvements to enhance the pleasurable experience of the river paddler: convenient access points usually with camping facilities, well-maintained gravel access roads, and well-marked hiking trails.

Canoeing begins at the low-water bridge (Arkansas 74) at Ponca except in periods of high runoff when one may put in six miles upriver at Boxley. The upper stretches--from Boxley to Kyle's--are sensitive to water levels and contain rapids of Class II difficulty at optimum levels. These sections should be attempted only by those familiar with basic river canoeing skills.

Kyle's Landing to Ozark Landing or Pruitt Landing

Gauge: The Little Rock District Army Corps of Engineers maintains a daily recorded message on the water levels on the Buffalo and other rivers in Arkansas. A water level may be obtained by calling (501) 324-5150 24 hours a day.
Minimum: 4.0 feet
Optimum: 4.5-5.6 feet

Difficulties and Points of Interest: Erbie Ford is about 5.2 miles below Kyle's Landing. It should be approached and run with caution due to variations in water flow. Although there is an access here, the NPS in 19861987 completed a large new access and campground about a mile downstream.

In sight of and immediately above this access on river right may be the world's greatest lunch stop for paddlers. There is not only a huge flat rock to spread edibles on but also a super-playable chute that even has surfing possibilities at optimum levels.

Directions: The paddler has a choice of take-outs. The first is on river right at Ozark, a fine camping area one mile above Pruitt. The second is on river left, just below the Highway 7 bridge at Pruitt. A National Park Service information center is above the bridge, on river right, at Pruitt.

Pruitt to Hasty

Gauge: The Little Rock District Army Corps of Engineers maintains a daily recorded message on the water levels on the Buffalo and other rivers in Arkansas. A water level may be obtained by calling (501) 324-5150 24 hours a day.
Minimum: 3.0 feet
Optimum: 35-4.5 feet

Difficulties and Points of Interest: These consist primarily of pools separated by shoals and willow runs. There are several nice bluffs along this section of the river.

Approximately three miles from Pruitt the Little Buffalo River enters on river right.

Seven miles below the Pruitt Bridge is Riggs Bluff on river left. As you approach, look carefully up the wooded hill at the upper end of the bluff.

About 200 feet from the river is Chimney Hole, a natural bridge that rewards a short walk with some fine photograph possibilities.

Directions: Take out at the National Park Service access at Hasty, on river right, just 1000 feet downriver and well insight from the natural bridge. This access is reached from Arkansas 74 east of Jasper, via paved roads.

Hasty Low-Water Bridge to Carver

Gauge: The Little Rock District Army Corps of Engineers maintains a daily recorded message on the water levels on the Buffalo and other rivers in Arkansas. A water level may be obtained by calling (501) 324-5150 24 hours a day.
Minimum: 3.0 feet
Optimum: 3.54.5 feet

Difficulties and Points of Interest: This is a good short section for a day trip. John Eddings Cave is on river right just above the take-out at Highway 123. Unfortunately, the cave is closed to the public.

Carver to Mount Hersey

Gauge: The Little Rock District Army Corps of Engineers maintains a daily recorded message on the water levels on the Buffalo and other rivers in Arkansas. A water level may be obtained by calling (501) 324-5150 24 hours a day.
Minimum: 2.7 feet
Optimum: 2.7-4.0 feet

Difficulties and Points of Interests: There are no major difficulties, but wildlife and good scenery abound.

© Article copyright Menasha Ridge Press. All rights reserved.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Page 1 of 2

advertisement

park finder
step one
Where are you going?


step one
What do you want to do?

+ More Activities


GEARZILLA: The Gorp Gear Blog

Receive Gear Reviews, Articles & Advice

Email:
Preview this newsletter »

Ask Questions