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Buffalo National River in Arkansas

Trip Overview

I've been on the Buffalo before and it is an amazing river with a very unique and special character. However, I was a bit disappointed with this trip because the river was just too low for early June. Apprarently, northern Arkansas is in something of a drought and I never realized the middle and lower river was so dependent on rain.

Our first day on the river was fine in the stretch between Mount Hersey where we put in, down to almost Woolum. The river was plenty high for floating or should I say paddling as the current was sluggish.

Below Woolum things literally got rocky in a fully loaded canoe. A friend in a kayak who was part of our party had an easier time of it but even he had to get out and pull his kayak through several spots. In most stretches, where you expected the water to move and provide a little excitement, you had to get out and pull. It got old.

Below Baker's Ford, the water level improved and there was little really low water, but the current was still pretty slow all the way down to Gilbert.

It's hard to knock the Buffalo because it's so beautiful regardless of water conditions, but I'd keep my canoe light and consider day trips until they get some rain.

Gilbert is a great place to base camp. Buffalo Canoe and General Store is a nice place with some cabins and campgrounds. Be sure to check out the great little restaurant in Gilbert.


Buffalo Canoe and General Store in Gilbert has campground and some nice cabins. They, of course, rent canoes and do car shifts.


Tandem canoe and a kayak


Take U.S. 65 south from Branson, MO through Harrison, AR to St. Joe. Just past St. Joe turn left on 331 which takes you right into Gilbert
  • Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip