Planning a Trip to the Buffalo River

Planning a Trip to the Buffalo National RiverHere’s a quick bit of trivia to keep in your pocket: The Buffalo River became the first U.S. national river in 1972. That’s when the 150+ miles of river became managed and protected by the National Park Service. More than 40 years later, the Buffalo remains a beautiful attraction that brings in visitors from all over the country. We’re pretty much in prime river season here in Arkansas, and now is the perfect time to head out to the Buffalo National River.

The beauty of the Buffalo is enough to lure any outdoor enthusiast, but if scenery isn’t incentive enough, there’s plenty to do on our nation’s first national river. Whether you’re into hiking, camping, paddling, backpacking, cycling, or just being outdoors, the Buffalo has a wealth of activities and scenery to satisfy anyone’s wanderlust.

We’re lucky enough to have the Buffalo flowing through our own backyard, and it’s sometimes easy to take it’s beauty and allure for granted. People travel hundreds, or thousands, of miles just to get a glimpse of the rushing waters and limestone bluffs along Buffalo. It’s common to see Missouri and Oklahoma plates at the trailheads, but you’re bound to see plates from the rest of the contiguous U.S. as well. Here are some things to know when planning a trip to the Buffalo National River from out of state.

Get a topo or trail map of the area that you’re going visit. This will help you get your bearings, and give you an appreciation for the diverse topography along the Buffalo.

Understand the rules and regulations at campgrounds and on the trails. You don’t want to drive across 4 states with empty pockets, only to learn that you have to pay for a campsite, or learn that dogs aren’t allowed after sharing a 6-hour car ride with your furry friend.

The towns around the Buffalo have been growing over the years, but they’re still very much small towns. This means that it’s best if you bring as much of your supplies as you can with you, especially if you’re particular about your beer or brand of mustard.

There are a couple of outfitters in Ponca for any last minute essentials you may need.

The Ozark Cafe in Jasper is a great place to get a warm meal after you’re done playing outside.

The absolute best way to plan for a trip to the Buffalo is by using the magical tool called the Internet. Here are some great resources:

If your travels bring you through Fayetteville, Arkansas, be sure you stop by and see us. We carry everything you need for hiking, climbing, camping, or backpacking, and we would love to help get you outfitted!

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