Forty years ago, years of work came to fruition and the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas was allowed to remain as Mother Nature intended, flowing free forever. Admire the aquamarine beauty with Buffalo River canoeing, kayaking, rafting, caving, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking, horseback riding and much, much more. Primarily to keep it from being dammed, the Buffalo River was designated by Congress as America’s first national river in 1972.
Along the Buffalo River in Arkansas, the National Park Service oversees 95,730 acres. There are three designated wilderness areas within that acreage. Tall limestone bluffs in earthy hues of gray, tan and brown are defining features of the Buffalo. Buffalo River floats are popular thanks to rushing whitewater interspersed among sections of calmer water as the river winds its way 135 miles through the lush green valley that is home to elk, deer, black bear and other woodland creatures. It is a prime example of one of the last free-flowing streams of the Ozark region.
While Spring is usually the most popular season for Buffalo River floats, sections of the river can be floated year round. Buffalo River canoeing and kayaking are best in the Spring when the rapids are the most enjoyable. The lower Buffalo is a lazier float for the summer when the upper portions have too low of water. The middle section is great for canoeing in late spring. With the right gear, winter is a nice time for Buffalo River floats as well.