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.

What Should You Bring On Your Buffalo River Day Trip?

backpackWinding through northwest Arkansas, Buffalo National River is known for its natural beauty, swift currents and picturesque bluffs—offering some of the best floating, kayaking and canoeing available anywhere in the region. In fact, it’s great for day trips, which allow people of all skill levels to get out an enjoy all that the river has to offer.

However, while day trips do not require you to pack camping gear and other supplies necessary for overnight and multi-day excursions, there are still a number of things you should be sure to bring with you. The following is a list of items you should consider as you plan your Buffalo River day trip:

  • Weather-appropriate clothing:

    Although the sun might be out and the temperature warm when you leave your house, conditions can change quickly on the river. Check the weather forecast before you leave and pack appropriate clothes—such as drying shorts, a hat, rain jacket and anything else you’ll need if the weather turns stormy.

  • Sunblock and insect repellant:

    The sun can get intense on the Buffalo River, so be sure to pack plenty of waterproof sunscreen and a hat to make sure you protect your skin against harmful UV rays. This helps prevent both sunburn and dehydration. Insect repellent will also keep at bay the mosquitos and flies, which can be extremely annoying when you’re trying to enjoy your day trip.

  • First Aid kit:

    Even though it’s just a day trip, accidents and injuries are still possible. You or members of your party could slip on rocks, overturn a canoe, get stung by a bee or suffer any number of injuries while out on the Buffalo River. To that end, you should bring with you a basic First Aid kit, complete with bandages, antiseptic and antibiotic cream, along with any medications you or others may need.

  • Food and beverages:

    Although you may only plan on being on the river for a few hours, be sure to prepare enough food to last you for a couple of meals in case an emergency arises. Packing a little more food won’t take up a lot of extra room, but could come in very handy if your trip lasts longer than originally expected due to delays.

  • Directions:

    Someone in your party—and ideally more than one person—should know exactly where you’re going and how to spot your takeout point. Have a map handy with the point clearly marked, and pack a waterproof flashlight and compass just in case you need to navigate past dusk.

Remember, a successful and fun Buffalo River canoe, kayak or floating day trip comes down proper planning. Before heading out, decide where you want to go, what you should bring and any resources or supplies you might need from a local outfitter. Then, stick to your plan and locate your takeout point—and try not to improvise too much while out on the river.

Our Favorite Hiking Trails Along the Buffalo River

The Buffalo River and the surrounding areas in northeast Arkansas are prime territory for some truly amazing hiking, biking and horseback riding. In fact, it can be difficult to decide which trail you should try first!

We’ve lived and worked in this region for many years, and have had the wonderful opportunity to explore nearly all of the trails the Buffalo River area has to offer. The following are some of our favorites:hiking

Buffalo River Trail, Woolum to HWY 65

The trailhead for this trail is at Woolum. You’ll need to set aside nine to 10 hours to complete this strenuous hike, but it will be well worth it for the gorgeous scenic overlooks you’ll see. The trail connects to the Ozark Highlands Trail, and has a river ford.

River View Trail

The trailhead for this trail is at the Tyler Bend Visitor Center. An easy to moderate level hike, it will take you between one and two hours to get through this trail. Get spectacular views along the way, and check out a historic site.

Collier Homestead/River View Trail

This trailhead is located at Tyler Bend or the Collier Homestead. It’s an easy hike you can complete in just 30 minutes to a half hour, depending on your pace. Despite the short length you still get some outstanding views and get to check out a historic site.

Buck Ridge/Rock Wall Trail

Find this trailhead at the Tyler Bend Amphitheater. The entire hike will take you around two hours and is moderate difficulty. Much of it is forested, and there are a lot of beautiful wildflowers blooming along the trail in the springtime. There are also plenty of historic features to see along the way.

Gilbert Railroad Trail

This trailhead is located at Gilbert. Though the hike will take you between two and three hours, it is definitely not strenuous, as most of it takes place on flat land and old railroad pilings. It can get overgrown in the summer, so be attentive to where you’re walking.

Spring Hollow Trail

Another hike that has a trailhead at the Tyler Bend Amphitheater, this one will only take about an hour to complete. The forested path takes you alongside a streambed and has a beautiful wildflower display in the spring.

Lengths of Hiking Trails

For your reference, the following are the lengths of these trails:

  • Buffalo River Trail, Woolum to HWY 65 – 15 miles
  • River View Trail – 1.4 miles
  • Collier Homestead/River View Trail – 0.6 miles
  • Buck Ridge/Rock Wall Trail – 2.6 miles
  • Gilbert Railroad Trail – 3.4 miles
  • Spring Hollow Trail – 0.9 miles

If you would like to learn more about these trails, or the many others that dot the landscape in the Buffalo River area of the beautiful Ozarks, don’t hesitate to speak with a member of our staff.