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Buffalo National River - Backpacking Trails

Buffalo River Trail (B-3 and B-4)

Park/Rec Area: Buffalo National River
Region: Ozarks
Length: 36 1/2 miles
Time: Varies with weather, physical ability, total hiking distance, etc.
Difficulty: Moderate - Strenuous
Difficulty Comments: Depending on section

Additional Trail Information: Free downloadable topo maps available

Location: Western trailhead: The trail currently starts at the old Whitely Homestead, approximately 1.1 miles south of the Buffalo River crossing on Hwy. 21. From the trailhead, cross the highway, follow the gravel road through the gate and cross Smith Creek. Just past the creek, turn left off the road and go around the edge of a large field until you pick up the trail which begins to wind up the hill. Eastern trailhead: The trail currently ends at the Pruitt Visitor Information Station on Hwy. 7.

Description: The Buffalo River Trail is a relatively new trail. In fact, much of it is still under construction. When completed, this trail will extend almost the entire length of the Buffalo River. It will also provide a link between Arkansas’s Ozark Highlands Trail and Missouri’s Ozark Trail, forming a system of trails well over one thousand miles in length. There are currently two completed sections which run from Boxley to Pruitt (36.5 miles) and from Woolum to U.S. 65 (15 miles). Construction crews are regularly working on new sections, but the going is slow. Check with the address listed if you have questions on any particular section. This trail offers some of the best scenery in the state. It is also one of the state’s most rugged trails due to the topography of the Buffalo River Valley. It winds through the valley, skirting the river in some locations and perched high atop limestone palisades in others. The trail passes historic home sites, farmsteads and cemeteries. It offers opportunities for day hikes, overnight hikes, or a loop journey by combining a downstream river float with an upstream hike. There are also a number of opportunities to explore spur trails or bushwhack into scenic areas such as the north section of the Ponca Wilderness area. Major access points for the western section of the Buffalo River Trail are Boxley, Ponca low-water bridge, Steel Creek, Kyles Landing, Erbie, Ozark Campground and Pruitt. Although the Buffalo River is a world-class float stream, the Buffalo River Trail offers an opportunity to view backcountry that cannot be seen any other way.

For Information: Park Superintendent, 402 North Walnut St., Ste. 136, Harrison, AR, 72601, (870) 741-5443 www.nps.gov/buff