Buffalo River AR?

We are doing the Buffalo River from Tyler Bend to Buffalo City starting this Sun. 10/15 and ending Sat. 10/21.

My question is: Just how much dragging will I be doing? Will this end up being a 60 mile hike/backpacking trip with canoes?

I have the links to the water levels, but I am looking for input from locals or anyone familiar with this stretch of the river.

We are going no matter what I’m just trying to figure out how light I need to pack.

I suggest…

– Last Updated: Oct-10-06 11:36 AM EST –

I suggest you post the same question on the ArkansasCanoeClub.com website. I am sure you will get some good & timely feedback, and it will be from locals who know that river extremely well.


Take your hiking boots
We did the same stretch of the Buffalo first week in October about six years ago when water levels were similar to what they are now. Maybe a little higher or lower but not much.

Be forwarned … we had to drag our boats through ankle deep water for a total of about 5 of the 50 miles of the trip. I’ll admit we were not packing light by any means. Since then we’ve done our autumn trips on the Current or Eleven Point when water levels were in this range.

One final word. Do not believe the outfitters. They’ll tell you they are putting boats on the water at current water levels. BUT THEY DON’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH THEIR CUSTOMERS HAD TO DRAG. After all, their primary purpose is making money, and they don’t make money if people don’t go down there because the water is too low.

Good point about lying outfitters
I’ve paddled the Buffalo. It’s a great trip.

But on the point of the local outfitters, they will tell you what it takes to get you to come to their river. Some years ago we were planning a trip through Santa Elena Canyon out at the Big Bend in Texas. We had heard the water levels were low so we called an outfitter who told us “C’mon, it’s great! I’ll run the shuttle for you.” We then called the ranger station at Big Bend National Park and were told the truth; there was not enough water to float a ping pong ball.

If you put in at Woolum to South or North Maumee or, wherever else downriver you choose to go, you won’t have as much dragging. You’ll paddle more but the river is deeper here. It’s still beautiful and wonderul and cliff strewn and…

Well, whatever you do have fun. I’ve paddled the above section a few times when water levels were low(ish) and did fine. Yes, you’ll walk it some but usually just twenty or thirty yards at a pop and frankly, I like stretching my legs and cooling my tootsies. (yes, even in October)



Thanks for the advice!
I was able to go on the arakansascanoeclub site and find quite a bit of info and pictures, without even having to post a message. The pictures really helped relieve the fears of some of my trip-mates.

We are not using an outfitter on this trip. We will have two vehicles and will do the shuttle Sat. afternoon, and stay in a local cabin before shoving off on Sun. morning.

A 60 mile trip in 6 days should leave plenty of time for fishing and relaxing, no matter what the conditions/levels. (I hope)

I’ll post a report when I get back!

Yep, you should be alright…
Buffalo is a little over 40 cfs at St. Joe, which is a little ways below Tyler Bend, and about 100 cfs at the Hwy. 14 bridge halfway through your float. I floated it last November when it was less than 20 cfs at St. Joe and 55 cfs at Hwy. 14, and had to walk a bunch of riffles, but that was considerably lower than it is now.

Rule of thumb for Ozark streams like the Buffalo…anything over 75 cfs and you can do it without much, if any, walking. And in actuality the upper part of your float, above Hwy. 14, is easier to float in low water than the lower part. The reason for that is that you pick up some water just below St. Joe (Bear Creek and some springs), so that the volume for much of the upper half is pretty close to the volume at Hwy. 14. And the riffles are generally narrower in the upper half, so they also tend to be deeper. There are a lot of very wide, shallow, gravelly riffles in the lower half.

Shoulda talked to Dan Green in Houston.
think he still outfits for the Rio G., doesn’t lie, and knows more about Texas rivers than anyone but Louis Albach. Canoeman knows what he’s talking about too when it comes to Texas rivers.