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Buffalo National River - Where to Float/Driving Time

Aurora, Illinois
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45 posts
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Buffalo National River - Where to Float/Driving Time

Hi -

We are staying in a cabin near Mt. Sherman mid July. We would like to take a day trip on the river.

I understand the upper river will be low and we will need to go further down to reach water that is suitable for floating that time of year.

Where would you recommend going and how far of drive will it be from the Hwy. 74 near Mt. Sherman? We would like to be on the river for a good part of the day. Any outfitters you would recommend that will shuttle our car? Also, what boat combination would you recommend

for 2 adults and 3 kids, ages 9, 10, and 11?

Any other recommendations or tips are appreciated. Thanks.

little rock arkansas
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for Little Rock, Arkansas
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1. Re: Buffalo National River - Where to Float/Driving Time

You are correct about the upper buffalo. The licensed outfitters on that region of the river will likely be shutting down after the 4th of July as navigability is totally dependent on rainfall. The good news is that parts of the middle river and likely all of the lower river will be open. So you will either be dealing with one of the operators on the middle river or lower. You probably have already found that list on the national park website. Though I usually have favorites in the travel industry I can honestly say that I have never been done wrong by any of the buff outfitters. They are licensed by the NPS, are protective of their licenses and I have probably dealt with all of them through the years. I usually call Silver Hill outfitter at St Joe on the mid river but that is just habit more than anything. Lots of great local guys who are safety oriented at most all the places. The mid river is of course closest to you - probably a little less than an hour to the mid river outfitters near st. Joe. Add maybe another half hour to the lower river outfitters. I am partial to the lower river - the Buffalo Point to Rush section on the lower buffalo because of the bluffs and the mystique of taking out at a real ghost town - the now abandoned ghost town of Rush. But believe me the kids will have an excellent time on the mid river and it is beautiful and of course, closer. My best advice would be to go on a week day, wear plenty of sun protection, and I personally like to wear water shoes. Leave plenty of time for swimming and take a lunch and eat on a gravel bar. I would probably wait till closer to the trip when you can gauge the water levels, call one of the mid or lower buff outfitters and plan the trip out with them carefully. If one outfitter sounds too busy or impatient, call another. They will tailor it to your timing, interests and water levels. If anything I would take a shorter stretch and let the kids play more in the river rather than concentrate on paddling distance. As to how many canoes - sounds like two will be plenty with maybe an adult in each? Safety is always an issue but rarely are there problems on this river. By mid summer the river is basically lazy and beautiful and shallow. There will be some deeper holes so be on your toes with the kids particularly if there has been rain but otherwise it should be much fun. I have taken a long time to say basically whatever you do on the buffalo river will be fun!

Aurora, Illinois
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45 posts
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2. Re: Buffalo National River - Where to Float/Driving Time

Thanks for the information.

We will go for the lower river section and I did talk to an operator who was very helpful. For a shorter route, 4.5 miles, they recommended Spring Creek to Dillard's Ferry. Do you have any thoughts on this section of the river as compared to Dillard's Ferry to Rush, 10 miles? According to this operator, they no longer put in at Buffalo Point due to a flood, which know requires them to carry the boats a longer distance to put in? If I go with the shorter trip, am I going to be missing something? Can I drive to Rush to see the ghost town?

little rock arkansas
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for Little Rock, Arkansas
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3. Re: Buffalo National River - Where to Float/Driving Time

I would take the operator's recommendation and I wouldn't worry so much about Rush. The old ghost town is just a few stabilized cabins etc. Driving around on those back roads takes much time and after a few hours on the river you will be spent! You are going to have a great time. Thanks for the info on buffalo point. Hadn't heard that.

4. Re: Buffalo National River - Where to Float/Driving Time

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