Category Archives: Buffalo River Outfitters

Fresh, Elevated Water Levels in August

Hello, happy paddlers!

We have received some rain here in Buffalo River Country, and you know what that means. The water levels are set to rise in our district in the next few days. The slow, warm water will be flushed out and late-summer floating opportunities will be renewed! That means grab your family, partner, dog, or very well trained cat and get down to the Buffalo to experience conditions not often enjoyed in August.

We have only a few boats available for Saturday 8/9/19 as of this writing, so make your reservations soon. If you would like to skip the small chance for showers, Sunday or Monday are looking clear and sunny. The weather for those days is set to be quite warm, so you will want to refer to our blog post on floating in the heat, and pack those sunhats and sunscreen and plenty of water.

Check that blog post out here. 

Why are we excited about floating on the Buffalo in the late summer season? You will get more of the river to yourself as the school-age crowds have thinned out. The water is great for swimming and not as nippy as it is in spring and early summer! So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today to reserve your canoe or kayak, and get down to the Buffalo to enjoy the water and the weather.

Call us at 870-439-2200 any time between 8-7 any day of the week. 

Happy paddling!

 

These Hazy Days on the Buffalo

Late summer settles down like a hazy veil upon the deep green waters of the river. The bugs shrill louder as if in protest of the heavy heat, and minnows dart in the ample shallows along the gravel. This part of the season slows everything to a peaceful pace, not only the river but the bustle around it. With most schools back in and the official rush of summer over, these elements come together to provide the perfect getaway opportunity. 

With the crowds waning, why not grab your favorite paddling partner and make your way to America’s First National River? Here, history and nature hold hands as they make their way along the Buffalo National River corridor. If you are looking for an easy, relaxing float that allows for you to take your time and enjoy the spirit of the river, now is the time. 

The river is not alone when you are counting the best parts of this slice of the Ozarks. The tangle of trails nearby range from beginner to more challenging jaunts, with historic sites and river overlooks dotted along them. Don’t even worry about packing lunch, because the nearby Coursey’s and Big Springs Trading Company both specialize in meals that fit perfectly in your lunch cooler to take with you. 

If you are the type to shed this late summer weather, then explore the nearby antique and junk stores. Go picking, iced coffee in hand (courtesy of Rock N Java on the hill), and find something to call a souvenir. 

Whether we are lucky enough to be your destination, or you are just passing through, Searcy County is full of things to see and things to do. Don’t know where to start? Pick up the phone and give us a call. We are here and eager to help you fill your days with nature, fun, and lasting memories. 

Make your escape. 

Floating the Buffalo National River with Kids

The Buffalo National River provides the perfect family vacation opportunity. Are you looking for a place to help you instill a love for the outdoors, a respect for nature, and a yearning for learning? America’s First National river flows through the gorgeous Ozark mountains, it’s green-blue waters weaving together history, natural wonders, and an ongoing haven for wildlife. If you are looking for peace and calm and some quality time with your kids amidst the beauty of a national treasure, then here is the perfect place for you. 

All flowery language aside, taking your child or children in a boat on a river is still a daunting thing if you have never done it before. Here are some things to keep in mind, whether you are going on a simple, short day float or taking your team overnight. 

Manage your expectations. 

Children are children, and attention spans need to be taken into consideration, especially if this is their first time. If this is the first time your kids will be floating with you, we suggest choosing a short float with plenty of scenery and places to stop and rest. A good first-time float in the Middle District would be Tyler Bend to Gilbert. This 6-mile float generally takes around 4 hours and provides plenty of bluff viewing, wildlife sightings, and some awesome places to stop and rest in the shade or swim.

Life jackets save lives.

Buffalo River Outfitters does provide properly fitting life jackets for every little person over the age of 3 years. The Arkansas Waterway Laws dictate that every child under the age of 12 must wear their life jacket at all times while in the boat. We strongly suggest that everyone keeps their life jacket on while floating the Buffalo National River, and wearing yours is the perfect example to your little paddlers.

Make reservations.

In summer, we stay pretty busy. Weekends are almost always sold out, and some weekdays will be as well. If you are traveling from hours away or if you are getting your children excited for their Buffalo River trip, make sure you call us ahead of time to make your plans. Rent your boats, ask questions, and be ready ahead of time so that all you have to do on the day of your adventure is to enjoy it.

Have a plan B.

Weather and water conditions can change in a matter of hours, meaning that sometimes we are unable to put out floats or maybe just to put out floats with kids. This is especially true in the early summer and spring. So be prepared to do something else or to move your float to a better day. This isn’t a very common occurrence, but it does happen. We try to always let you know at least the day before if we know that your float plans may change or if conditions are different than what we previously may have described. In any case, keep an open mind. Nature changes in a snap of her fingers.  

Keep your kids involved.

Talk to your kids, keep them in the loop. Teach them what you are doing (paddling, tying down, buckling life jackets) and why. Having conversations ongoing and making them a part of the team means that they will be learning in Mother Nature’s gorgeous schoolroom while you get in some valuable family time. Memories are made on these trips, so squeeze in some tips too. 

Remember to vacation. 

Don’t forget that this is your time to relax and have fun with your kids! Sing silly songs, point out cool landmarks or wildlife, just take your time. Don’t rush for any deadlines or try to keep a strict itinerary. The best vacations are always the ones you didn’t stringently plan, so kick back and have a good time.

Bring snacks.

Oh, the way to a kid’s heart. Finger foods, cold slices of fruit, juice, picnic food. And always lots and lots of water! Eating outside is such a treat to young kids, and what better place than along the banks of America’s First National River? Here is a blog post to help you plan those meals.

Stop frequently. 

Kids will get tired easily if stuck in a boat for long periods, so let them pick places they want to get out and explore, or swim, or just rest. The Buffalo provides plenty of gravel bar opportunity, so take plenty of breaks, and work them into your time frame when planning your trip. 

Go over emergency procedures.

Sometimes, things don’t go to plan. Talk to your kids about what to do if the boat flips, what to do if they come across wildlife, what to do if they get separated from you in the woods, and who to call if you need help. Teach them to keep calm in the event of an emergency, and tell them what you expect of them. Nobody wants to think that these things may happen, but it’s best to have those conversations ahead of time, just in case.

Ask questions.

Don’t do all the talking! Keep them involved and have them make some of the decisions. Ask them if they are having a good time, if they want to come again, what is their favorite part, and do they want to paddle for a while? After all, you are on vacation…..

The best way to preserve our parks and national landmarks is to communicate their importance to the next generations. Get out with your kids, wherever you go, and instill the values of these places by enjoying them with your family. Call us today and we will help you plan your next adventure. 

Happy Paddling!

Top Ten Things To Do in Buffalo River Country This Spring Break

Warmer weather is so close, we can almost taste it. Seeing Buffalo River Country dressed in spring is something you’ll want to put on your bucket list for Spring Break 2019. From the gorgeous river itself, to the surrounding nature and community, there is something for everyone nestled right here in Searcy County. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Go hiking.

spring at the buffalo

Cooler weather is great for hiking, and spring brings flowers and stunning scenery to the Buffalo National River! Tyler Bend is tangled with so many hikes, whether you are looking for a quick, easy outing or an all-day trek. Featuring thought-provoking historical sites and adrenaline-pumping river overlooks, adventure is waiting for you right here in the gorgeous Middle District.

Hike to your instagram dreams here.

2. Take in a show.

Did you know that Searcy County is home to Arkansas’ only year-round Drive-in movie theater? The Kenda Drive-In is a community cornerstone and to this day is run by the same family that opened it 45 years ago. Nothing ends a perfect day of exploring or relaxing quite like a movie under the beautiful night sky. A full concession stand with very reasonably-priced snacks and food options makes this a must-do in Buffalo River Country.

Click here to find out more about the Kenda Drive-In.

3. Go riding.

Horseback riding is a long-standing tradition all along the Buffalo River. And no better opportunity can be found other than right here in our district. With over 75 miles of equestrian designated trails, and drive-in horse campsites at Woolum, Steel Creek, Erbie and Hathaway, the Buffalo River is the perfect getaway for you and your saddled friend.

Find your next trail ride here.

4. Go camping.

Once the weather becomes agreeable, camping opportunities are endless on and around the Buffalo River. Ready to rough it? Plenty of rocky riverbank is ready for you to call home. Want to go a little austere but still have a bathroom within reach? Tyler Bend Campground provides showers, flush toilets, water and picnic tables on and around their designated pay campsites.

Click here to find camping on the Buffalo National River.

5. Go floating.

Did you know that spring is the only time to catch the water of the Buffalo dancing in sparkling blue-green? With the springs running out of the rocks cold and fresh, the lime contained deep within the stone stirs a jeweled tone into the Buffalo National River, making it a breathtaking sight absolutely not to be missed.

Find out more about floating the Buffalo here.

6. Get coffee and go picking.

Want to take it slow and shop a while? With so, so many shops located in Marshall and Leslie (just 10-20 minutes from the river), drop in and grab an iced coffee at Rock ‘n’ Java on the hill in Marshall and make it a day out with your best picker buddies.

Click here to learn more about Rock n Java.

7. Indulge at Furgeson’s.

Start your day the decadent way with a massive, delicious cinnamon roll from Ferguson’s, located right on Highway 65, just a hop, skip and jump from the river. Nothing says “today is gonna be a good day” than a cup of hot coffee and a sticky, soft cinnamon roll. Don’t take our word for it.

Find out more about Ferguson’s Restaurant here.

8. Cozy up to a fire.

However much we wish the warmer days would hurry up already, sometimes the chill just hangs on. Beat the biting weather by grabbing the people you love and cozying up around a beautiful stone fireplace in one of our Buffalo River Cabins. Spring is so spectacular here in Buffalo River Country, you can’t see it all in one day. A cabin nestled in the woods is the best home base for all of your Spring Break outings.

Find out more about Buffalo River Cabins here.

9. Find a waterfall.

Now, now, now is the time to see all of the waterfalls you’ve been dreaming about! With spring rains in full swing and more on the way, don’t wait any longer! Did you know that the tallest waterfall between the Rocky Mountains and the Adirondacks can be found on the Buffalo River at Hemmed-in Hollow? And Spring is the only time to experience it at it’s best, so don’t wait.

Find your waterfall here.

10. Get your fill.

End the day with southern charm and comfort food – both are served up in heaping helpings at Big Springs Trading Co. Here you will find a smoked meat deli, a full bbq menu, provisions, gifts, and Arkansas-style hospitality. This charming, tastefully styled building is home to some of the best food found anywhere on the Buffalo National River, so whether you are packing a picnic basket or meeting up to discuss the day’s adventures, be right at home and filled to the brim at Big Springs.

Find out more about Big Springs Trading Co. here.

Spring Break is one of the very best times to experience life bursting back into the Buffalo River. And here in river country, it’s the beautiful prelude to summer that not a lot of people know about. Make your spring getaway memorable by spending here in gorgeous Buffalo River Country.

What are you waiting for? Plan your spring break escape now!

Overnight Floating on the Buffalo National River

Spring 2019 is fast approaching, and here at Buffalo River Outfitters, we are so excited to get a jump on the fresh, new season! Now is the time to plan your overnight trip on the Buffalo National River.

With the spring rains come great water levels and renewed opportunities to see all that the Buffalo River has to offer. Overnight floating is a great choice for groups big or small and Buffalo River Outfitters offers some of the best overnight rates found anywhere on the river. We can service the entire Buffalo for overnight floats, and as your Buffalo River headquarters we are centrally located to offer the best service possible to all of the spring thrill-seekers.

For overnight floating, all of our canoes and kayaks are currently $50.00 per day, per boat. Rafts are not available for overnight floats. Call for shuttle pricing and recommended trips, as the best trip can be chosen according to updated river conditions. Click here to see our overnight trip page!

Designated Campground Camping

Along the banks of the beautiful Buffalo National River there are numerous campgrounds maintained by the National Park Service. These campgrounds have varying levels of amenities, such as bathrooms, showers, drinking water, trash services, RV spots, etc. Some of the campgrounds charge per-night fees, which are subject to change according to the group size and type of camping spot needed. If you have any questions regarding designated campgrounds, call us at (870) 439-2200 or the Tyler Bend Visitor Center at (870) 439-2502. Or click here to read the Park Service page on Camping.

Here are a few more things to know:

  • When in a NPS-maintained campground, please observe the Leave No Trace principles. Keep trash confined to trash receptacles if available, or in the Park-required mesh trash bags if not. Do not dig fire pits or make fire rings. Keep fires in designated areas if available, or make small campfires and scatter the remains if not.
  • Remember when you are in a designated campground that there will be people around you and using the facilities. Please be respectful and courteous and if there are any questions or concerns that arise call the park dispatch at (888) 692-1162. If there is an emergency, call 911. All campgrounds observe quiet hours from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am. Fireworks are not permitted anywhere in the Park.
  • Some campgrounds that require fees will have self-pay stations and some will have manned fee stations. In either case, it is safest to bring exact amounts of cash to pay for your campsite. The maximum capacity per campsite is six people. Checkout time for paid campsites is 12:00 noon.
  • Use lantern hangers if available. Do not drive nails or stakes into trees or stumps.
  • Keep your pets on a leash at all times, and please clean up after them.

Primitive Camping

Primitive camping means, essentially, that you are on your own. No bathroom facilities, no running water, no trash services, no electricity. If you are planning to primitive camp along the banks of the Buffalo National River you should expect to be completely alone or with very few neighbors and pack and plan accordingly.

Since the Buffalo River is a National River it is owned, protected and maintained by the Department of the Interior. This means that there is no privately owned property along the river. The Buffalo National River corridor protected and cherished property, and should be treated with the respect a national landmark deserves. Click here to read the Leave No Trace guidelines for camping along the Buffalo National River.

Generally, anywhere you can safely pull your boat up and away from the river is available for primitive camping, with the exception of any designated National Park paid campgrounds, or half a mile on either side of any designated National Park paid campgrounds.

Primitive camping is usually necessary for those paddlers who are overnight floating on the Buffalo National River, as the designated campgrounds are scattered. Should a situation arise that throws off a group’s pre-determined timeline, it may become a necessity. For this reason, if you are planning on floating the river for multiple days, always bring what you need to primitive camp, even if you intend to reach designated campgrounds each night. It is better safe than sorry, especially where nature is involved. When primitive camping, remember never to camp against a bluff and always store your boats above your tent or sleeping site, so that if the water rises it wakes you up before it takes your boats away. Do not make stone fire rings, or dig fire pits. Always scatter fire sites and be aware of burn bans before you go.

The park service works hard to make your trip to the Buffalo as enjoyable and clean as possible so that you can focus on making memories. If you have any questions regarding designated campgrounds or overnight float trips on the river, or would like a comprehensive camping list or Buffalo National River handbook sent to you, call Buffalo River Outfitters at (870) 439-2200. We are here to help you plan your best trip, and happy paddling!

The Still Peace of Winter in Buffalo River Cabins

Here in the heart of Buffalo River country, cold weather has settled in firmly. The vibrant colors of fall have long ago faded, and the Buffalo river is still running strong, but icy cold. We here at Buffalo River Outfitters are cozied in and making big plans for 2019. Our store front is still faithfully open, providing gear and apparel all year round.

Did you know that our Buffalo River Cabins are open all year? The still, beautiful peace to be found on a chilly winter day in the Ozarks holds a magic of it’s own. Why miss out? Our fully equipped cabins have fireplaces and heaters, cozy blankets and fire pits under the stars. And with the high speed wifi available in every single one of them, you can’t go wrong. Here at Buffalo River Outfitters, cozy and connected go hand and hand.

In these cooler months, reservations for Buffalo River Cabins still need to be made well in advance. Our winter schedules fill up fast. Arrangements will be made for key pickups on check-in and check-out if you will be arriving late or during reduced staff times.

We are also taking Summer 2019 reservations left and right! The summer months of May, June and July are booking up faster than ever before, so make your reservation soon to take part in the fun. The river levels have stayed so beautifully steady through the end of 2018 and now into 2019, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that the good conditions keep up. Wondering when the best time to float the Buffalo National River is? Call us! We are here to answer every question, and help you plan your trip perfectly so all you have to do is show up.

Summer may seem so far away, but there are still so many adventures to be found in Buffalo River Country. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, shopping and elk watching opportunities are always here in Buffalo River Country. What are you waiting for? Make your escape.

Autumn at the Buffalo National River

The magic of the River goes on and on, and even so in Autumn.

The green-blue waters of the Buffalo National River become slower, serene. It’s as if the spirit of the water itself knew to slow down and take in the breathtaking scenery along it’s own banks. The cool air calls out the creatures that make this part of the Ozarks home. Otters, beavers, deer, birds and of course the majestic Elk all become more active in the fall air. The creatures lend even more beauty and memorable moments to this, America’s First National River.

What makes the Buffalo River stand apart from the rest? Besides the beautiful Ozark Mountain setting of the river itself, the history of the Buffalo makes it even more extraordinary. Established as the First National River by an Act of Congress in March of 1972, our river is living, moving history. The Buffalo National River is 135 miles of undammed and free flowing waters managed by the National Park Service.

Fall Color Viewing Trips on the Buffalo National River

Tyler Bend to South Maumee. This trip is 17.5 miles, making it perfect for two days in the lower water fall conditions. This stretch of the river is a much-loved classic two day float on the Buffalo National River in St. Joe, Arkansas. Starting at the National Park headquarters for the Middle Buffalo River (Tyler Bend) and ending at South Maumee is one of the most perfect trips in September and October for a secluded, easy float with plenty of towering bluffs and opportunity for wildlife sighting.

Grinder’s Ferry to Dillard’s Ferry. This trip provides a bit more mileage (25.7 miles) and ends further down in the Lower District of the Buffalo National River. There are plenty of places to stop and explore and camp on this trip. Can you picture yourself relaxing by a campfire in the foggy morning air? There’s always something to see: tall bluffs and wildlife are ever present on the banks of the mighty Buffalo River.

Welcome to Buffalo River Outfitters

Buffalo River Outfitters was established in 1986 to serve river goers with quality equipment and lodging to provide the best Buffalo River experience possible. We provide canoes and kayaks for floating the river for one day or many days. Furthermore, our expertly trained staff are here to assist, suggest and give advice for making the best of your time on the Buffalo National River. BRO stands as a headquarters for current river levels and flow information. We will suggest the best trips for the season and conditions. In addition to this, we can also answer questions about what more there is to do right in the area – hiking, swimming, horseback riding, sightseeing and more! Our location is perfect for the avid antique shopper and explorer of tiny towns. We even have an amazing drive-in movie theater just ten minutes from our cabins.

The Best Cabins in the Ozarks

buffalo national river cabin

Our eleven log cabins are beautiful, fully equipped, tastefully decorated, and perfectly located. Buffalo River Outfitter’s clean and cozy lodging is unmatched in the area. We are able to easily accommodate large groups or provide hideouts for intimate getaways. Ten of our eleven cabins have high speed internet and smart tvs. Here you can escape the city bustle but still have the ease of Netflix or news at any time. What’s not to like? Flannel and fireplaces, bonfires and starry skies, the Ozark Mountains and the Buffalo National River. These are all combinations not to be missed.

Whatever is needed, the enthusiastic crew here at Buffalo River Outfitters is here to help. Our only question is – when is your next Buffalo River adventure?

Searcy County Elk Viewing

Did you know that the Buffalo National River is home to Arkansas’ only elk herd? And right here in the heart of Buffalo River Country is where you can find large groups of our beautiful Searcy County Elk.

Where can you see Elk in Searcy County?

One of the best places to view Elk is just a few minutes from our store. Right off the southwest side of Highway 65 between our store and Marshall, Arkansas there is an open field where you can often see a large herd grazing in the distance. In this field is where Searcy County Elk make the most appearances. Woolum access on the Buffalo National River is another popular site to see Elk. In this 2018 season we have even had some sightings of Elk at our Buffalo River Cabins!

How did elk come to be here?

A sub-species of elk called Eastern Elk was originally native to the state of Arkansas. The Eastern Elk population was fully extirpated from the state by the late 1840s. They became completely extinct by the beginning of the 20th century. Elk were re-introduced to the Buffalo National River Corridor in 1981 by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The Elk Restoration Project placed 112 Rocky Mountain Elk in the Buffalo River region that year. Over 500 descendants of those animals can be found near the Buffalo River today.  

When is the best time to observe Searcy County Elk?

Mating season is usually in late September and early October. This is when the elk are most active. They can sometimes be found crossing roads and rivers, so be cautious. The best practices for viewing Searcy County Elk is to come late in the evening or early in the morning. Right in those golden hours are the best time to see these beautiful animals. 

Want to learn more about Searcy County Elk? Come to the store if you have any questions or comments about our local elk, we would love to help and listen! You can also call us at 870-439-2200, 8-6 every day. Happy Elk watching!

Beautiful Cabins in the Ozarks

Have you planned your fall getaway yet? Why not come enjoy a cabin in the Ozarks? Porch swings and rocking chairs in the fantastic Buffalo River Country are calling to you.

School is back in session for most areas, but the magic of the Buffalo National River goes on and on. There is something truly spectacular about the late summer and early autumn in the Ozarks. The air becomes slowly cooler, the pace slower. The day begins in a blanket of fog and ends under a blanket of stars. The elk roam in the golden hours and bugle in the twilight.

Our cabins book up fast, so remember to reserve your cabin with Buffalo River Outfitters soon. There’s always something to do here. Go on an easy hike to the Collier Homestead, or challenge yourself to a more strenuous climb up to the iconic Hawksbill Crag. Experience some of the best cinnamon rolls in the state right here at Ferguson’s Country Store. Watch a movie on a beautiful, mild night at the historic Kenda Drive-in. Cook a rustic meal over a happy campfire on the rocky banks of the Buffalo. Come enjoy the hazy peace that comes with the season in a cabin in the Ozarks.

And from now until October 1, use this exclusive coupon code – AUTUMN18 – to take 15% off of any weekday cabin rental (minimum of 2 nights). You must call or reserve online soon to make your cabin reservations, as availability is limited. (Discount code applies only to reservations made for the remaining months of 2018.)

As always, much love from the staff here at the river, and we can’t wait to see you!

Sincerely,

Buffalo River Outfitters

Enjoy your Summer Float on the Buffalo

The Buffalo National River is beautiful every day of the year, and late summer is no exception. Here are a few words of advice on how to enjoy a safe float on the Buffalo National River in the hazy, hot days of summer.

Summer is a time for heat, which can mean trouble to an unprepared river goer. This can cut a late summer float short at the very least and possibly threaten the health and welfare of any unprotected person. That’s why it is so important to know the conditions and come prepared.

Temperatures in Northwest Arkansas can often reach the upper nineties. This, combined with humidity and the intense summer sun can cause your otherwise beautiful float to be cut short.

Sun Protection.

Always bring sunscreen to the Buffalo National River, especially when floating. The direct sunlight reflected off of the river’s shiny surface can double your exposure to harmful UV rays. If you enjoy a swim, consider purchasing waterproof sunscreen or reapply liberally. When applying sunscreen, do not forget the sensitive skin on the top of your foot, and attend areas like shoulders and the tops of your thighs with special consideration. Additional protection, such as a sunhat or a protective shirt with sleeves are all very good decisions.

Water.

If you are going on a longer float, remember to take frequent breaks and remind everyone in your group to drink water liberally. If you and your adult group decide to imbibe while on the Buffalo National River, we ask you to do so responsibly. Remember to drink water in between alcoholic drinks, as alcohol will dehydrate you quickly. Drinking water while enjoying alcoholic beverages protects against overindulgence, dehydration, heat stroke, and a nasty hangover.

Shoes.

In July and August, the river levels can begin to get a little low, meaning that the water may be slow moving and there will possibly be areas where you have to paddle more than others. You may even have to push your boat over short areas. Keep this in mind when considering footwear for your late summer float – Chacos, strap sandals or any sturdy shoe that can be worn in the water will work quite well. Also, you will be working a little harder to move along in the water, so consider that when packing and maybe bring more snacks and water than you generally would. 

If you do end up with a sunburn, (it happens a lot) come in to our store after your float. We always have ice-cold air conditioning, cold water, and sunburn gel for sale. Please try to be careful this summer floating season. Keep your adventures safe and enjoyable by respecting mother nature’s power and protecting yourself against the heat!

As always, our phone lines are open to questions, and we will do our best to provide you with great advice and tips for your Buffalo River Adventure! Call us today! (870) 439-2200 Or drop us an email by filling out a contact form. Happy floating!