Category Archives: Buffalo River Outfitters

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!


Buffalo River Outfitters

Late 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, late 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.


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.


In July and August, the river levels begin to get a little low, meaning that the water will be slow moving and there will possibly be areas where you have to get out and drag your boat for a short time. So 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!

Food on the Buffalo National River

Summer is a fast-approaching reality for us here at Buffalo River Outfitters. A lot of people are planning their floating adventures on the Buffalo National River for 2018. Food on the Buffalo National River can be tricky to plan. We are here to help!

Are you wondering what food or foods are easy, quick and work well for a group or individual to bring on their trip to the river? And it’s a good question! There are rules and regulations for containers for food and beverages. Some kinds of foods just work better for grab and go and limited adventure interruption.

Buffalo River Outfitters does not currently provide catered or prepackaged meals for river goers. However, we do sell snack-like food and candy from our storefront. If you are looking forward to a picnic it’s best to plan ahead and pack along what you will need for your meal.

Here are some tips and ideas for what to bring:


Sandwiches made ahead of time and stored in plastic baggies are classic and perfect for river trips. Make sure you have your park-approved trash receptacle on board for the plastic and trash.The red mesh bag we provide for customers is what you are required to have with you.

Finger Food on the Buffalo National River

It’s best to prepare any finger food ahead of time to avoid any unnecessary steps or bulky knives and cutting boards. Obviously, having everything ready to go makes snacking fast and enjoyable. You can bring these and any other foods in zipper-style plastic bags or seal-able containers. Always remember that glass is prohibited on the Buffalo National River. Also, any trash from food on the Buffalo National River must immediately be placed in a trash receptacle.

As a general rule, anything that requires silverware or dishes is going to slow you down. Dishes will also raise the possibility of something being left behind to harm animals or pollute the river. Keeping things simple, quick and trash-free as possible not only protects our beautiful Buffalo River, but also makes sure you have the best uninterrupted adventure.

If you decide to drink alcohol while on the Buffalo National River, we ask you to do so responsibly. Alcohol can and will dehydrate you quickly. It is against river regulation to have any type of glass on the Buffalo National River. Additionally, aluminum cans must be in a float-able container such as a koozie. Remember, drink a lot of water while enjoying alcoholic beverages to protect against overindulgence, dehydration, heat stroke, and a nasty hangover.

If you would like to enjoy a meal at a local restaurant before or after your float, here are some nearby favorites:

St. Joe (5-7 min from our store)

Marshall (15-20 min from our store)

As always, our phone lines are open if you have questions concerning food on the Buffalo National River. We are happy to help you plan your next adventure!

Hiking on the Middle Buffalo River

Summer may be over for now, but the Middle Buffalo River still has plenty to offer! Our area of the Buffalo National River is always ready to host groups big or small for an outdoor experience to remember. The trails on the middle district are perfect for all hikers. From scenic river overlooks to historical landmarks, there is so much to explore here in the Middle District of the Buffalo River.

middle buffalo river

Where to start on the Middle Buffalo River?

The best place to start a hiking adventure in the middle district is at the Tyler Bend Visitor Center. The Tyler Bend Visitor Center is located just a few minutes from the Buffalo River Outfitters Store. The people and literature at the Visitor Center can give you a great starting point for your hiking plans. The most popular trail heads are all quite close to this central location.

Easy to Moderate Trails!

All of the hikes in our district of the river are rated easy to moderate – so it’s perfect for beginners or families. The trails interconnect as well, making it easy to pick a trip that is the perfect length for you or your group. The connected trails also allow for looping trails, so that there is no backtracking to get to your camp or vehicle.

The Tyler Bend area also provides campgrounds, a pavilion and picnic area, and toilet and shower facilities maintained by the National Park, making it a great place to visit year-round.

As always before coming to the Middle Buffalo River, you can call or email our office to get a feel of what is going on in the area.

We can provide weather, fall color updates, and any other area information you might like to know before making the drive. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have!

Click here for a printout of information and a helpful map of the Tyler Bend Hiking Trails.

Happy Hiking!

Buffalo River Outfitters – Renting From Us

Are you planning a trip to the Buffalo National River? We would be delighted if you allowed us to host your next river adventure! From cabins to canoes to vehicle shuttling, we will go above and beyond to make sure your trip to the Buffalo National Park is as safe and easy as it can be. Here are a few things to expect when renting from Buffalo River Outfitters.

Buffalo National River

On the Phone:

Give us a call! The friendly staff at Buffalo River Outfitters is standing by to answer your questions. We will suggest river trips or cabins for your specific needs, and also provide information on the river levels, weather conditions and nearby attractions. We will do our utmost to answer every question you might have. If we don’t have an immediate answer than we will direct you to someone who can assist you further.

You can always make reservations with us over the phone. We will ask you what days you would like to come see us, what trip you would like to do on the Buffalo River, and/or which cabin you would like to reserve. We will make your reservation in our system, and take some information such as name, phone number, email and billing address. Our policies dictate that we must take full payment at the time of reservation. We will notify you of our cancellation policy, and send you a confirmation email with additional information and a confirmation number.

On the Web:

You can also find tons of information on our website and making reservations from there is easy, as well. Just click the blue “Book Now” button, and follow the steps to check availability and make reservations.

Buffalo River Outfitters

In the Buffalo River Outfitters Store:

We always do suggest making reservations for your floating or lodging needs, but if you decide to risk walking in, we will be happy to accommodate you as far as our availability allows.

At the counter, we will walk you through the steps of filling out your paperwork. If needed, we will go over a map with you. We do our best to make sure you understand exactly what to expect on the river. We can also give you instructions for boarding a shuttle to the Buffalo National River.

On the River:

Once you have boarded a shuttle, you will be transported to your pre-determined put-in location. The driver and sometimes an extra boat hand will unload your vessel. They will also make sure you have a properly fitting life jacket, and give you your paddles and a mesh trash bag as required by Arkansas Law. The driver can give you last-minute instructions if needed. Soon you will be safely on your way down the river. There will be drivers waiting to shuttle you back to your vehicle at the end of your trip, so relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery!

We are happy that you have considered us for your vacation! We hope that you have a safe and enjoyable trip on the Buffalo National River!

Float the Buffalo River – What Shoes?

Planning a day float or overnight float on the Buffalo National River can raise a lot of questions. Not the least of which is – “What kind of shoes should I wear to float the Buffalo River?”. Sometimes it can be difficult to foresee what challenges your feet will face on the river. Especially in cold temperatures or fast-moving water. Here are some quick tips to help you make the best decision for your river adventure.

float the buffalo river

Some helpful tips to keep in mind before you float the Buffalo River:

In general, you will want to make sure that whatever you wear is flexible and breathable. Some canoers kneel in the back of the boat for stability. In this case, insure that your shoe bends comfortably at the toe and isn’t prone to cracking or tearing.

As a rule, do not wear flip-flops, slip-ons, crocs or any shoe that can easily come off of your foot. Moving water will make this type of shoe difficult. Slip-on shoes will be downriver and out of reach in a heartbeat.

Riverbanks on the Buffalo National River are made up of rocks and gravel, and these rocks can be sharp and unpleasant on bare or unprotected feet. In the heat of summer, gravel bars can also get hot. Choose shoes with a sturdy sole that won’t allow your feet to be bruised or cut by river rocks.

We recommended that you wear waterproof shoes or boots in the colder months. In this case, make sure that you bring along a few pairs of dry socks stored in a waterproof bag or box.

Obviously you will also want shoes that are versatile, comfortable and snug on your feet. Shoes that chafe, rub or blister your feet spell trouble for extended river trips. You may also want to stop and explore some of the beautiful hiking trails in the national park, of which there are many. In this case you will want footwear that dries fast and is suitable for long walks.

For summer plans to float the Buffalo River, the best type of shoe is one you can swim in and still stay comfortable. For long trips or overnight trips, remember not to wear wet shoes for long periods of time.

Whenever you can, dry your feet and shoes, especially on multi-day trips.

Please keep track of your shoes!

During your float, you may want to remove your shoes and free your feet. After removing your shoes, secure them to your boat to avoid loss in the event that you tip or flip your vessel. A lot of shoes wash ashore on the Buffalo National River. Of course, any debris such as a lost shoe or shoes can litter the river and potentially be dangerous to wildlife.

Whatever your feet wear, we here at Buffalo River Outfitters hope you have a safe and wonderful float on the Buffalo National River!

Click here for more float planning tips from the NPS.