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Canoe the Buffalo

se kansas
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125 posts
9 reviews
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Canoe the Buffalo

We are planning a one day float in a couple of weeks. Last time we floated we camped at Buffalo Point and loved the campground. This time we will have 4 teenagers, my husband and I. We would love advice on which floats are best. Don't need a long one-maybe 4-6 hours. Who should we rent canoes from? Is Buffalo Point the best place to camp? Thanks!

little rock arkansas
Destination Expert
for Little Rock, Arkansas
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3,326 posts
290 reviews
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1. Re: Canoe the Buffalo

My favorite place to camp is on the river on a gravel bar. There is something almost sacred about being one with the river in the still of the night. Though I have done it many times, there is risk. The river can rise quickly if there is rain, so you must camp high and bring your boat and gear to your tent site. So aside from that, it doesn't get much better than Buffalo Point for car camping. I have rented from almost all the vendors. They are all licensed by the park and under their scrutiny, so I have never been disappointed - ever. The rates vary very little from one to the other. The most important thing would be to hire the canoes from the vendors closest to where you want to paddle. For example if you want to paddle the mid river, you would select Silver Hill or one of the other mid-river vendors, lower Buffalo you’d pick Wild Bill’s etc. See below site for list: http://www.nps.gov/buff/canoe-rentals.htm

I personally have affection for the upper Buffalo (Ponca to Pruitt) or the lower Buffalo between Buff Point and Rush. This time of year the upper Buff is usually non-navigable. If you are staying at Buffalo Point and you have not been on the stretch between that location and Rush, by all means do that! It is gorgeous and there is a bona fide ghost town in the takeout location, Rush.. (once a large zinc mining town and now empty, except for paddlers. ) It’s a little short, so talk over your speed, skills and interests with one of the vendors. They may suggest you put in further upstream than Buff Point. I am not quite as fond of the middle Buffalo; however, the central Buffalo does has some beautiful areas. If you can be there on a weekday, the crowds will be smaller. Don’t expect much whitewater this time of year unless there are heavy rains, but as you know, expect amazing scenery.

se kansas
Level Contributor
125 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Canoe the Buffalo

Thanks for the info. Do you have to have a permit to camp on a gravel bar? Buffalo Point Campground is full for when we are going. I'd love to go mid-week but the teenagers all work during the week so a Saturday float it is.

little rock arkansas
Destination Expert
for Little Rock, Arkansas
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3,326 posts
290 reviews
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3. Re: Canoe the Buffalo

No fee for camping on gravel bars. Here's what I would do: Call Silver Hill http://www.silverhillfloatservice.com/ and reserve your boats right away for a 2-day weekend float. Unless they have a better idea, I'd suggest Baker Ford to Gilbert, about a 10 mile float. It doesn't have the bluff height of some of the stretches but it's plenty nice. You should have a ball, though during the day you will have lots of company. Get on the river in the afternoon of the first day early enough to float a couple miles and search for a gravel bar and get set up before dark. Camp as high as you can and take all items including the boats up with you. Leave the bar looking better than when you arrived!

4. Re: Canoe the Buffalo

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