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.

Pets on the Buffalo

Pets on the Buffalo!

The Buffalo National River is a great place to explore and enjoy the great outdoors! For some of us, the trip is just not the same without our beloved four-legged friends to keep us company. We welcome pets on the Buffalo National River during any season. However, before you load up your excited pooch, here is some important information regarding restrictions on pets in the Buffalo National Park.


Where pets are NOT allowed:

Most of the hiking trails in the Buffalo National Park are closed to pets, with a few exceptions. Pets are allowed on the following hiking trails:

Pets are not allowed in caves, government buildings or within the boundaries of any wilderness areas within the park!

General Facts To Know:

Pet feces must be picked up and disposed of properly. 

Buffalo River Outfitters is a pet-friendly facility. We do ask that you keep any animals on a leash and supervised during your visit. A large and busy highway runs right by our store so please do not let your animal run free on our grounds, to avoid tragedy. 

It only costs $25 for pets to stay in our cabins!

  • Please announce pets when making your reservation or when you come to the store to check in. When staying with pets at the cabins, please keep an eye on them when they are outdoors and try to keep them from barking excessively. Please do not allow them to sleep or climb on furniture or beds in the cabin.

Pets are allowed on our shuttles and rental water boats. When on the shuttles, please keep your pet near to you and do not allow him/her to wander around. If you observe another passenger becoming shy and uncomfortable around your pet, please respect their space and make sure your pet does, too. If a pet causes damages to any of Buffalo River Outfitter’s property, owners will be held responsible.

On the river, please do not tie animals to your boat.

  • Any pet that is tied to a water vessel can cause danger to the pet and owner. The safety of both animal and owner is our primary concern. If you were to tip, flip, or get caught in debris, your pet could become trapped. As a floater, when your pet is tied to a vessel, you could also become trapped on a cord if your pet is tied to the floating device. We urge everyone to allow your pet to freely roam, within means, while on board. Please also try to keep your pet from barking or excessively chasing fish. Digging in sand or gravel bars can also be harmful to the wildlife on the Buffalo. If a dog’s claws damage or pop an inflatable raft you have rented from us, you are liable for repair or replacement.

We love meeting your furry companions, and it makes our day to see a well-behaved dog in our store and enjoying a day on the river. Bringing your pet on the Buffalo can only add to your fun, as long as all guidelines are followed. Just please remember to be safe with you and your pet!

Have a safe and amazing adventure on the Buffalo National River!

Water Levels for 4/21/17

The gauge at Grinder’s Ferry is currently reading 5.8 foot. That would generally be a good level, but today it is on the rise from all the rain we are receiving. We will not be floating sadly. We are hopeful for a great week next week.

The rain is helping everything turn a beautiful shade of green. The hiking trails will be gorgeous in the next few days!

Water Levels for 4/19/17

The current water level gauge at Grinder’s Ferry is reading 6.25. That is a perfect level for a nice float today! 6 foot is in the moderate range, therefore it is great time to be on The Buffalo National River. Baker Ford to Gilbert is our 10 mile float taking around 4.5 hours to float today. Tyler Bend to Gilbert is our 6 mile float taking around 2.5 hours. Our shortest float for today would be Grinder’s Ferry to Gilbert taking roughly an 1.5 hours to float. Rafts are still welcome at this level! If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call at 870-439-2200.

The weather is looking good for today. It is going to be sunny with a high of 82!

Water Levels for 4/13/17

The current water level gauge at Grinder’s Ferry is reading 6 foot. That is a perfect level for a nice float today! 6 foot is in the moderate range, therefore it is great time to be on The Buffalo National River. Baker Ford to Gilbert is our 10 mile float taking around 4-5 hours to float today. Tyler Bend to Gilbert is our 6 mile float taking around 2.5-3 hours. Our shortest float for today would be Grinder’s Ferry to Gilbert taking roughly an 1.5-2 hours to float. Rafts are still welcome at this level! If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call at 870-439-2200.

The weather is amazing outside! We seem to have some story weather moving in on us after this weekend. Catch a great float while the weather is nice!

Happy Paddling!

Water Levels for 4/11/17

The current water level gauge at Grinder’s Ferry is reading 6.3 foot. That is a perfect level for a nice float today! 6.3 foot is in the moderate range, therefore it is great time to be on The Buffalo National River. Baker Ford to Gilbert is our 10 mile float taking around 4 hours to float today. Tyler Bend to Gilbert is our 6 mile float taking around 2.5 hours. Our shortest float for today would be Grinder’s Ferry to Gilbert taking roughly an hour and a half to float. Rafts are still welcome at this level! If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call at 870-439-2200. Happy Paddling!

Kayaking vs. Canoeing: What’s the Difference?

There are many different ways to enjoy a one-day or multi-day trip down the Buffalo River, and two of the most popular options are canoeing and kayaking. Many people—especially those who don’t have a lot of experience with either or both experiences—ask us about the main differences between the two.

To help you better understand the ways Buffalo River canoeing and kayaking can be different, while also somewhat similar, we’ve provided some more information below:

The basics of kayaking

kayakGenerally, kayaks tend to be smaller and lighter in weight than canoes. This often means they are faster on the water than canoes, and can be easier to load onto a vehicle and carry around when needed. They typically have a closed-desk design and are narrower than canoes.

While they are usually faster, kayaks are also less roomy and may be less stable because there is not as much surface area on the water. Kayakers work with double-bladed, curved paddles, and they may use thigh braces for added stability.

The most standard kayak is meant for a single paddler. Multi-paddler kayaks are available, but they are still built to be light and narrow.

Canoeing offers a different experience

canoeCanoes are typically larger and heavier than kayaks. This enables them to be somewhat more comfortable, despite being slower on average. Canoes are built for versatile travel, with an open-desk design that offers more roominess than kayaks. Paddlers sit or kneel in canoes, and no braces are usually needed.

In general, canoes are used in more leisurely settings, with canoers using flat-bladed paddles. They usually accommodate two or more people.

When deciding on whether you and your group should go canoeing or kayaking on the Buffalo River, consider the type of experience you’d like to have the skill level of everyone in your party. If you’re looking for speed, kayaking may be the better option. But if you would like a more leisurely trip, we might suggest canoeing.

Remember, if you have any questions, the staff at Buffalo River Outfitters is here to help. We have years of experience with Buffalo River kayaking, canoeing, rafting, floating and just about anything else you can do on our pristine national river. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you could use some guidance when planning your one-day or multi-day trip.