Buffalo River Transportation

I have the first 2 weeks of May off and the original plan was to do a trip up in Northern Maine, (Penobscot & Allagash rivers)but was told that when I put my boat in it would go clunk instead of splash. So I figured I’d go south in search of the splash instead of the clunk. Which brings me to the Buffalo River. It’s a 22 hour drive from my house(RI coast).

To long of a drive for me. I drive a truck for a living and I really don’t feel like doing 22 hour drives on my vacation. So I was thinking of flying to Little Rock, and somehow finding tranportation to Buffalo River. Any ideas. Thanks.

More info pls
Canoes will be limited to tandems but kayak rentals available.

I think that you will have to rent a vehicle in Little Rock, choose a shuttle operator and put in and then go back to the airport via rental vehicle.

For one thats an expense particularly when sitting in a parking lot.

I would choose the drive!

I am fond of thse operators…used them several times. They are in Ponca but on multi day trips can do a shuttle to wherever you want…even Buffalo City.


The river has many access points and runs over 100 miles east to west

Did you check out


Buffalo transportation
The Buffalo is a great river for paddling, fishing, and camping. The put ins can be accessed easily except for the lower stretch. Outfitters can transport you for a fee. The river is busy on weekends. When I paddled in late July last year during the week, I only saw one other canoe.

Craig in windy Kansas

We are driving
Went for a long walk with my wife/canoepartner and decided to drive down after totaling all the figures. We were looking at about 1600.00 minus food. Your links were very helpful and the iceing on the cake for my wife’s change of heart was the cabins at BOC. I told we could stay 2 or 3 nights after we got off the river.

We will leave Friday May 1st and drive two twelve hour days. Put-in On Sunday as far as the water levels will allow us and take out 10 days later. Now that we have made a definit decision we are really looking forward to the trip. Thanks for your help.

That was quick
and two dozen roses not required!

Just be careful
with the weather that far upstream (rain)- the strech from Ponca to Pruitt is the best water on the river in my opinion. With a full river you should have a pretty good idea how to handle a canoe and it is a great trip!!

Have fun and it will be worth the drive… if you get a chance, take a side trip to the Boxley Valley and you should be able to view the Elk in that area. May is usually a good time.

and watch the water
It rises abruptly when it rains upstream.

If you gravel bar camp pay attention to the edge of the water. A stick driven in the sand can help.

Do the elk
ever make it down to the river, or is this Boxley Valley a viewing area were most of these elk hang out?

We will make a point of visiting the area. I’m asumeing these are transplanted elk like the one’s in Elk County PA. We are planning on going there (PA) this fall during the rut for a week.

So it sounds like the Buffalo has a tendency of rising quickly when it rains. So I was thinking of bringing my water alarm detector that I use in my basement. It’s about the size of a small transistor radio. It sounds stupid, but I think it will work. There’s a beach just down the street, I’ll have to go down there on the next incoming tide and see how it works when I set it on the sand.

I would not bother with an alarm
If you think its going to rain or the river seems to be rising pick a gravel bar with accessible campable woods uphill. You will understand if you pick a gravel bar with unpenetrable bamboo shoreward.

Its no good to be awakened at 2 am by your alarm and then have to bushwhack in a thicket of trees.

Many gravel bars are huge and your camp could be several hundred feet from the edge.

But tie your boat at any case. I have had the wind pick up a forty five lb boat and toss it like a feather in a storm.

The rising water is not a big deal unless you forget that it can rise. Look up on your travels…underwear sox shoes in the trees attest to people not keeping an eye on the water.

Here is a good book so you dont miss anything. There are campsite suggestions too.


BOC (riverwind) ought to have these for sale though you might order ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

Don’t worry too much…
about the water- as Kayamedic said, just just be aware and have a route to go up just in case. If you have any paddling experience you will be totally safe on the river.

As for the Elk, from what I understand, they were re-introduced to the area several years ago. And have continued to thrive. I have never seen them on the river- but I will say I have heard of folks who have heard them bugeling!!

If you start your Journey near Ponca, you will pretty much be in the Boxley Valley so you are not too far away. Check out this video- pretty awesome!!


take your time!
Just make sure that you take it slow on the river. If you are an experienced paddler, I don’t think there yo uwill find 10 days worth of river on the Buffalo. Take lots of breaks, side hikes, and sleep late in the morning, and stop early at night. Do some fishing, if that interests you. Right after Ponca is a neat little side hike up to Hemmed In Hollow which is a nifty waterfall, I THINK it’s the highest waterfall between the Appalachians and the Rockies. That’s what I’ve heard, anyway.

You’ll have a great time - the Buff is an excellent trip.


Last summer I was paddling on the Buffalo and came around a bend in the river and was within 15’ of an elk that was at river’s edge having a snack. I had thought it a deer at first glance, but slowly, at river current speed, I slowly brought my canoe up alongside it and together we enjoyed spying each other, not sure of what to expect. I have no idea how old it was, if it was used to seeing paddlers, but it was an enjoyable 60 second nature experience.

When you look up the river height charts on the Buffalo, you see that it is not unusual for the river to rise 1 foot per hour. That can last all night if you get my drift.

Good Luck.

Go to www.arkansascanoeclub.com and talk to those guys.

Very cool. Thanks.

The Midnight Flood Of The Buffalo
I look at my canoe magazine rack and pick up the first issue that comes to my hand. It’s “Canoe Journal” from Canoe & Kayak magazne 2001. I randomly open it up and this article pops up.“The Midnite Flood Of The Buffalo” How weird is that.

Some good basic lessons to be learned and reminded of.