Touring Kayak on the Buffalo Nat. River

-- Last Updated: Feb-27-13 2:54 PM EST --

Has anyone paddled the Buffalo National River in Arkansas in a big touring kayak? Doing a 6 day on the Buffalo soon and I would really like to use my 16 1/2' Eddyline Fathom if at all feasible. I really don't care much for solo canoeing a loaded boat and my wife bailed on this one ;-)

Cheers, Jon in SC

Hi Jon.
I’d suggest posting this on the Arkansas Canoe Club message board. That bunch has logged lots of miles on every section of the Buffy in just about every craft imaginable.

Is it plastic or composite?
If the rivers up you can do it amateurs do it in 16’ canoes all the time. It is a pool and drop type stream so you will have riffles where you can scrape bottom.

That said I’ve done it a few times in a 13’ fiberglass touring boat with no problem.

You’ll enjoy the trip, do the hike to Hemmed in Hollow, it’s worth it.



Prefer plastic
At moderate spring levels in 14 ft loaded plastic kayaks we had no concerns about the Buff. 16-17 should also be of little concern though they’re not as nimble on turns. Moderate levels no unavoidable rocks but I wouldn’t bring my 17ft glass boat here, especially if levels are low.

I would stay off the uppermost section
(Ponca) but if water level is sufficient, you shouldn’t have trouble on the rest. Very little severe maneuvering is required.