The Buffalo River National Park … one of America’s National Parks. The Buffalo River… America’s first national river, flows through 135 miles of pristine wilderness in the Ozarks. Plan your Arkansas outdoor adventure!
Float the River
Water levels are best for floating November-May. Most visitors float the Buffalo River during the warmer weather and go river hiking when it is cooler. River levels do affect the time it takes to float but a full day float is typically 8 miles or less. Visitors planning to camp or hike while floating should pack a topographic map of the area as unmarked roads and trails can make navigation difficult to those unfamiliar with the area.
Upper District Floats on the Buffalo National River
Most floatable April-May
Dixon Forge to Boxley Bridge – 15 miles – Most Difficult
Typically floatable November-April The wildest stretch of the river is the 15 miles from Dixon Forge to Boxley. Known as the “Hailstone,” this section of the Buffalo should be run only by experienced who are comfortable running solid Class III rapids. There is really no way to shorten the run except to camp midway but the water level can be tricky running high enough one day and not the next. Most of the Hailstone is runnable only during the coldest parts of the year, usually late in the fall through mid-April. Zero airspace under the Ponca bridge to 1 foot over the bridge is good. Rising water levels and levels over 1 foot can be dangerous. Dixon Forge put in is located at the end of Forest Route 1463 (Dixon Ridge Road) north of Fallsville. Dixon Forge put in is 54.1 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR.
Boxley Bridge to Ponca – 6.1 miles
Flowing through Boxley Valley, the Boxley to Ponca run is just over 6 miles long. Zero to 15 inches of air space under the Ponca low water bridge is best. Features of this run include steep shoals, some shelf drops, a few narrow passages, views of fields which in the spring, often fill up with wildflowers. Boxley Bridge put in is located on Hwy 21 in Boxley Valley. Boxley put in is 31.8 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Less than 10 inches of air space under the Ponca low water bridge indicates only experienced floaters should attempt a run. 10-30 inches of airspace indicates less experienced floaters should be fine. Airspace of 25-27 inches means you will likely have to walk your craft over shoals. Features from Ponca to Steel Creek include: Bee Bluff and Roark Bluff. Ponca put in is located at the low water bridge on Highway 43 near Highway 74. Most run Ponca to Kyles Landing (10 miles). Ponca low water bridge is about 26 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Steel Creek to Kyles Landing – 8 miles
Very popular float Features include Cliff Hollow, Big Bluff, Jackies Big Hollow, and Hemmed in Hollow landing.
The scenery is not as spectacular but this is the gentler part of the Buffalo River running along the Springfield Plateau. Many people looking for a more relaxed float will run Kyles Landing to Ozark Campground (11miles). Put in is at the Kyles Landing access located off of Highway 74 between Jasper and Ponca. Access road is unpaved. Kyles Landing put in is 24.2 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Erbie to Ozark – 5.5 miles
Most float Ozark to Carver for 13 miles or Pruitt to Hasty for 6.8 miles. Put in is at the Ozark Campground off Highway 7 north of Jasper. Ozark put in is about 18 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
*Pruitt Landing to Hasty -6.8 miles
Floating Pruitt to Hasty will take you past Welch Bluff, painted by the famous artists Thomas Hart Benton. It is identifiable by a geologic fault that characteristically splits the bluff. Pruitt put in is 13 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Hasty to Carver – 4.2 miles
Most people float Carver to Woolum (15.4 miles). Put in is at the Carver boat landing off Highway 123 south of Hasty. Carver put in is 24.3 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Middle District Floats on the Buffalo National River
Most floatable June-July
Mt. Hersey to Woolum -8.6 miles
Features on this run are Skull Bluff also known as the Bat House. Thomas Hart Benton painted many features along this stretch of the river.
Many float Woolum to Tyler Bend for a 15.2 mile run. Put in is 7 miles southwest of Highway 65 at St. Joe. Woolum put in is 32 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Baker Ford to Tyler Bend -4.3 miles
Typically floatable year round Tyler Bend to Gilbert-very popular float Many people float Tyler Bend to Gilbert for a 5.4 mile run. Put in is the Tyler Bend boat landing off Highway 65. Tyler Bend put in is 33.6 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Grinders Ferry to Gilbert – 4 miles
Gilbert to Maumee North – 11.5 miles
Maumee North to Maumee South- 11.4 miles
Lower District Floats on the Buffalo National River
Very popular float Many float Maumee North to Buffalo Point for 11.4 mile run. Put in for Maumee North is at the end of County Road 86. Maumee North put in is 45.4 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Spring Creek to Dillards Ferry – 4.6 miles
Dillards Ferry to Buffalo Point – 1.5 miles
Buffalo Point to Rush Landing – 7.4 miles
Rush Landing to Buffalo City- 23.5 miles
Put in at Rush Creek and take out at the White River in Buffalo City. Rush Creek put in is 45.2 miles from the Gateway City to the Buffalo River, Harrison, AR. Map it.
Do you have physical or mobility issues? You can still enjoy the Buffalo River National Park. Follow scenic drives or discover wheelchair accessible trails in the park. Photograph wild elk grazing in the valley from your car or explore endless trails with breathtaking waterfalls and historical significance.