History of the Buffalo

In 1972, Congress named the The Buffalo National River as the country’s first national river. 135 miles free-flowing river makes up the Buffalo River to which only 11% of the actual watershed is under direct National Park Service management.

The Buffalo River starts in the Boston Mountains and generally flows in an easterly direction before ending in the Ozark Mountains amongst Arkansas’ natural beauty. Along the river are multi-colored bluffs of eroded sandstone, limestone, and dolomite, with some towering to heights over 400 feet. There are also numerous caves and cliffs that you will see while floating the Buffalo, as well as sinkholes, waterfalls, springs, and rock formations. The history and geology of the Buffalo is one of a kind that our knowledgeable team at Buffalo River Outfitters knows all about!

While floating the Buffalo National River, you will find an abundance of wildlife and plant species. Hunting and fishing are allowed in the national river under state and National Park Service regulations. The river also has a diverse range of cultural resources along with historic sites. Protected sites include prehistoric village and shelter sites, historic farmsteads, and mining sites, in addition to Civilian Conservation Corps structure.

The Buffalo National River Park has a total of 94,293 acres that is divided into three management districts: the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area, the Ponca Wilderness Area, and the Lower Buffalo Wilderness Area. The park headquarters are located in Harrison (Boone County), Arkansas, and park visitation averages more than 800,000 visitors a year.

In addition to water-based activities, the park offers visitors more than 100 miles of hiking trails and designated trails for horseback riding. Since there are few roads which parallel the river and few accessible overlooks, river and trail trips are among the best ways to experience the park. In short, there are unlimited adventures to be had, places to camp, and sights to see right here in the Heart of Buffalo River Country.

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Our Cabins

Whether you're looking for a cozy spot for two or somewhere to hold a large group of friends and family, we have the perfect cabin for you.

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photo gallery

Seeing is believing, and when we tell you we have some of the most beautiful water in the state, we can back it up.

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Other services

We do a lot more than just float trips and cabin rentals. We can help you plan a hike photo tour, schedule shuttle service and more.

Floating, hiking, camping...

Buffalo River Outfitters offers a complete Ozark adventure vacation. We provide canoes, kayaks, rafts and shuttle service for floating the Buffalo National River, and have clean and cozy lodging options that are unmatched in the area. 

Whether you want to float the river, hike nearby trails, go horseback riding, or simply relax on a porch swing and enjoy the fresh air, we've got the place for you.

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Water Levels

  • Flood stage
  • High
  • moderate
  • low
  • Very Low

PONCA

FT

St. Joe

6.60 FT
  • Very Low: The river is dry in places.
  • Low: Water is low but floatable. The river moves slowly and many rocks are exposed.
  • Moderate: Ample water for floating. The river moves at an average of 2 mph, allowing canoes to float over most rocks.
  • High: For experienced floaters only. The river flows swiftly and compromising situations may occur. Canoeing experience on swift moving rivers is necessary. All canoeists must possess good river canoeing skills and must be familiar with rescue procedures.
  • Flood Level: The river flows outside its normal banks. Flood waters move quickly and carry debris. River conditions are hazardous even for highly skilled canoeists.