I was planning a trip to the Buffalo River in Arkansas for later in December. The plan was to paddle the lower portion of the river and take out at Buffalo City, just up the White River from where it meets the Buffalo. While talking to someone at the National Park Service for some additional information, I was told that it is not possible to paddle up the White River to Buffalo City, and that I should go down river about 3 miles and take out at Cartney. I realize that it is possible for the White to be moving fast if water is being released at the dam, but does anyone know if it is not possible to make it to Buffalo City for some fairly experienced paddlers?
Lots of people have done it…
How easy it is depends upon how much water is being released from Bull Shoals Dam. If it’s during a time without much electrical demand and little water is coming through the generators, it’s not difficult at all. But if they’re cranking, you’re going to have to do some hard work and it could be somewhat dangerous. And there’s no way of telling ahead of time what the conditions on the White will be. I’ve always just paddled on down to Norfork, because I think the White is pretty neat to paddle itself and try to catch a few trout. Takes about 2-3 hours to paddle the 11 miles or so down to Norfork if you’re not fishing but not paddling really hard, either, so it wouldn’t take that long to paddle just three miles on the White. I don’t know what the shuttle to Cartney is like compared to Buffalo City or Norfork, however.
made that trip all the way from Hwy 14 to Buffalo City. We spent two nights on the river. When we reached the White we paddled up to the Buffalo City ramp without much trouble. We were in Old Towns, Castine and Loon 111. Bull was generating at the time and I would guess about 6 units. All we did was to stay on the right bank as we came out of the Buff and eddy hopped up as close as we could get and ferried across to the shore and made it the rest of the way to the ramp, which wasn’t far. Longer boats will make the paddle easier but holding course a little harder. I would think completely doable.
The stretch down stream is pretty as well if you have the time. Getting across to the takeout, depending upon the water levels, could pose a slight problem. Did it once and had to wade across the gravel bar. Just about got frost bite up to my knees!
yep you can
agree with what the others say. Another otpion if you don’t want to go all the way down to Norfork you can also get out at the Shipp access.
Buff to White
We paddled the Buffalo from Ozark, just upstream from Pruitt to Norfolk. We had talked about paddling upstream to Buffalo City. But it only took about 2.5 hours to paddle downstream and the White was a very cool river in it’s own. It was 80 the day we paddled it and the bottom release from Bull Shoals was cold, cold, cold… so we got some really cool fog rolling across the river.