Vacation destination buffalo river national scenic river outdoors gas bike alley


The elk spend most of their time in the valley bottom near the river and are easily observed from the elk viewing parking areas which are adjacent to the roads. Spring and fall are two of the best times to view the massive herd. The Elk Education Center is just outside of Ponca on Highway 43 and is a great stop when looking for elk.

The main reason people travel to the Buffalo River is canoeing. Canoeists can experience a wide variety of canoeing on this relatively short river. The river is divided into three general sections: the Upper District, Tyler Bend Area, and Buffalo Point Area. The river trio

The Upper District is distinguished by variable water levels due to run off from rains in the surrounding hills. This section of the river contains some great white water canoeing when the river is high and is impassible when the water is low.

There are nine segments in the Upper District with floats that range in time from two to four hours. The most popular segment on the river has a put in at Steel Creek with a take out at Kyle’s Landing. This four-to-five hour paddle runs through the heart of the Ponca Wilderness Area. The paddling is interesting but not terribly challenging

A great weekend trip begins at Ponca and floats downstream to Pruitt Landing. The river winds through narrow canyons and is surround by high bluffs, rock faces and even some big waterfalls that tumble into the river. The Tyler Bend area begins at the put in at Mount Hersey.

The Buffalo River is plentiful with a variety of fish species. The most popular species for anglers is the small mouth bass. There are also large mouth and the Kentucky or Spotted Bass. Small mouth bass tend to be in the cooler, faster waters while large mouth bass hang out in the slower, warmer pools. Spotted bass can be found anywhere in between these two areas.

There are also rock bass, sunfish, pumpkin seed, bluegill and google eye, all of which are known collectively as ‘bream’ in Arkansas. Catfish, red horse and buffalo also reside in the Buffalo River. Many anglers gig fish (i.e. spear fish) for redhorse, buffalo and other rough fish. Anglers can also use setlines, trotlines or yo-yos for catfish. Trail blazing

There is also a myriad of hiking and equestrian tails in the 95,000 acre park. These trails vary in distance from a half mile to 35 miles. Many of the trails hug up and down the numerous bluffs and mountains that dominate the park. Elevation changes can vary from 1,500 feet to 200 feet. The hikes can be hard work, but the vistas from the top are spectacular. Hikers can expect to encounter canyons, caves, waterfalls and abandoned farmsteads and towns. The upper district is home to the largest amount of hiking trail options.

The park itself has about a dozen campgrounds. The majority of the campgrounds are small and very primitive, with pit toilets, pack in/ pack out rules and no electricity. The Erbe Campground, near Jasper, is the only campground that allow RVs. Both the Erbie and Steele Creek Campgrounds have specialized horse camps incorporated into their facilities. The usual fee for the developed campsites is $12. Most of the campgrounds have around a dozen campsites or less.