Three Beautiful Hikes You Need to Explore in Buffalo River Country

Every season is peak season when it comes to exploring, hiking, and taking in breathtaking views.The Holidays are upon us and with them come feasts and a constant supply of goodies, snacks, and desserts. Hike off those Christmas Calories and start your tour of this beautiful slice of the Ozarks. Get out, get active, and hit those step goals with these three awesome hikes. 

Hiking Tyler Bend

Lost Valley Trail at Ponca - Upper District

  • Located 51.8 miles from Buffalo River Cabins
  • Trail Length is 2.2 miles (round trip)
  • Elevation Change is 242 feet

The wildly popular Lost Valley hiking trail is not to be missed. It has a large parking lot, easy access to bathrooms and picnic tables at the beginning of the trail, and is great for larger groups. You can bring younger children on this hike, but be prepared to carry them up and down rock stairs or to turn back before the end of the trail. It can get a little strenuous for little legs towards the end. This heavily trafficked in-and-out hike comes upon a beautiful creek, two waterfalls, Cob Cave, and finally a deep cave with a third waterfall far back inside. Bring sturdy shoes that don’t slip easily, plenty of water, and headlights to explore the last cave if you are adventurous and not prone to claustrophobia. The sights along this trail are breathtakingly gorgeous, and note that all three waterfalls will generally only be running soon after a rainstorm. 

Collier Homestead Trail at Tyler Bend - Middle District

  • Located 1.6 miles from Buffalo River Cabins

  • Trail Length is 1.1 miles (round trip)

  • Elevation Change is 154 feet

This loop trail is the perfect afternoon jaunt. Rather short, perfect for young children, this landmark homestead is absolutely fascinating to explore for young and old alike. This hike is so close to our cabins and provides some great views of the Buffalo River along the way. Tyler Bend provides other, more strenuous hikes and the Visitor Center located there is a great pit stop before you go. 

Indian Rockhouse Trail at Buffalo Point - Lower District  

  • Located 32 miles from Buffalo River Cabins
  • Trail Length is 2.8 miles (round trip)
  • Elevation Change is 459 feet

This hike is located in the history-rich lower district of the Buffalo National River, and is a little more challenging than the other two listed here. This loop trail goes down into a valley, past an impressive sinkhole, an attempted zinc mine, and then down to a very large cave with a natural skylight. This trip is better for fit adults as the hike out is uphill and can be challenging for kids. This trail is located in the Buffalo Point section of the river and so is nearby to campgrounds, bathrooms and a ranger station. The sights along this trail are interesting and thought-provoking and provide great photo opportunities. 

Ready to enjoy the less trafficked trails and sights this holiday season? We are here to help you do it! If you have more questions about these and other nearby hikes, or are needing directions and more details, give our office a call at 870-439-2200 to talk to one of our Buffalo River Country experts today. 

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Water Levels

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

PONCA

3.18 FT

St. Joe

7.04 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.