Hello everyone, My wife and I will be flying to this area for our parents 60th wedding annaversary in August. I have never been to the buffalo river area and would like to possibly rent a canoe or tandem kayak if we can find one right near their. Anty good shops to check out? We will be using a rental car and the closer the better. Even if we dont get to this time we still want to check it out. My parent land backs up to the white river in the rea valley area so ive beem their and done that. We will be in the Flippin area. Any suggestions? Andrew in South Carolina
Buffalo river trip
Just go on up to Buffalo Point park. There are a bunch of liveries right there. It’s a 2 day paddle back down to the White River, not too far from Flippin. That’s a pretty secluded section and really pretty.
You might have to wait to come out into the White if they’re generating at the dam upstream. We once found ourselves pulling hand over hand in the tree branches along the wewstern shore. It’s not too far to the take-out across the White but the current is really strong when the generators are running.
The upside of all this is that the water from the dam is really cold, so it’s nice and cool near the river on a hot day.
For a day float you might try Buffalo Point to Rush Landing 7.5 miles at this time of year the water is very low and you are going to encounter lots of people most of the time. The lower end with the water being what it is now is really your only way to go. Rush to Buffalo city is 24 miles, so you would need a few nights out for this strech. Rush landing is not to far from flippin or yelville have fun be safe.
Call Dillards at 800-423-8731
Years ago when we started taking week long trips I called the outfitters on the lower buffalo and found Dillard’s Ozark Outfitters. Dillard’s is run by Danny Joe and Nikki Dillard. Dillard’s is a combination gas station, mini mart and canoe livery. We have our own boats now and use them for shuttle service. They keep the car at their location until the last day and then drive it to your take-out. We always stop at Dillard’s to fill up the car and the kids no matter what part of the Buffalo we are going on (it can be more than an hour out of the way).
The first time we used them it was mid-week in august (a slow day for canoe rentals) Danny Joe helped us himself with the put-in- He told my kids to get in the van, only he said “get in the vehicle”. Somehow it has a lot of syllables when he says it. We have never had a car since- only “vehicles”. When we got to the river he waited for more than two hours while we got ready to go, I’m sure he was enjoying the spectacle. He was concerned that we had forgotten the cooler back at the store, but I told him we didn’t bring one since we didn’t think the ice would last a week in the 90+ degree heat. He wanted to know how we were going to survive a week on the river with 4 kids and no “refreshing adult beverages”.
We had a great trip on the river; only saw a couple of canoes, some swimmers where the roads cross and a couple of guys fishing each day. When we got back to the shop at the end of the trip as I was talking to Danny I realized he knew where we had camped every night of the trip. Danny was promoted from charming river guide to guardian angel.
Since we had got done a day early (see 4 kids and no cooler above) and paid for a weekly rental he suggested that we play the next day in some of their Old Town Otters at Buffalo Point. The first to want to try the kayak was the older of my sons who was 7. I carried one of the boats down to the water and asked my son to hold it while I went back for the other boat. I was imagining this father son moment of teaching him how handle the kayak and paddle. My wife was imagining other things and stopped me to remind me that I was not to leave him alone- yes honey, he was not to drown- yes honey, we were not to spend all day playing in the kayaks- yes honey. Imagine my surprise to find that when I got back to water edge and he was gone. No son- no kayak- no paddle – no life vest – what was my wife saying? For those unfamiliar with the area, I’m standing at the upstream edge of a steep gravel bank 50 yards wide and a city block long devoid of any vegetation. The river is at least ½ mile straight downstream at this point and across the river is a few yards of boulders backed by a 400 foot sheer rock wall. It is beautiful- where did that kid go? I figured that he had let go of the boat and the mild current had taken it through the pool exit about 100 yards downstream with him running down the bank- only there was no one running down the bank. So… I looked upstream to find him paddling toward me coming around the bend, he had found a cave in the rock and came back for me to catch up- no need to tell mommie about this son. We have done a lot of miles in kayaks since that day. All those kayaks in the basement are Danny’s fault.
We will always use Dillards, we will always stop at Dillards, and the kids know that Dillards store is the only place on the planet where Dad allows an unlimited budget for candy, slingshots and souvenirs (Mom says bait is not a souvenir).
The lower river may not be the only place to have fun in august on the Buffalo. The day after a good rain if the river comes up you may be able to put-in at Ponca. This is much faster and has more whitewater more often than the lower Buffalo which is pool and drop. If you get the rain then go to the Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca. This is more of a Kayak/Canoe store with wetsuits and dry bags and other gear. Everyone is very friendly and nice. They also rent great multi-bedroom cabins
Another interesting place to visit is the town of Gilbert on the middle Buffalo. The Gilbert general store sells snacks and a few maps and things but last time we were there (2 years) they didn’t have much of the water gear they used to have. Uphill about a block is the Riverside Kitchen a surprisingly good Restaurant for such and out of the way place. Our middle river trips used to include mid-day stops in Gilbert for ice-cream bar pigouts at the general store, now all our itineraries are based on lunch at the Riverside Kitchen with ice-cream bars for desert.
Info on Gilbert: