Upper Buffalo River in April

I will be paddling 30 miles of the upper Buffalo River (Arkansas) in April, probably in my kayak, but maybe tandem canoe. I’ve paddled it in the summer, but never in April. So, I am wondering what others might wear in April on that river. Thanks for any input.

I won’t…

– Last Updated: Mar-08-08 2:44 PM EST –

I won't tell you specifically what I think you should wear, but I will offer a couple of suggestions/opinions.

First, I suggest that you ask the same question that you asked here on the Arkansas Canoe Club website. There are quite a few paddlers there who do the Buffalo on a regular basis. I only do it occasionally.

In April, the weather is difficult to predict in the Ozarks. My second suggestion is that you watch the weather forecast "carefully". Knowing what is happening there "prior to your trip", and what the predicted weather is going to be "during your trip" will go a long way in deciding what clothing you take. If you have a variety of clothes suitable for temps between 50 & 80 degrees you should be "good to go".

The weather there in April can sometimes make wild changes.
Would not be that unusual for it to be 80 one day & 50 the next. Night time lows may fluctuate; but I seriously doubt they will ever drop below freezing in April. Rain is "most definitely" a possibility.

The last trip I took on the Buffalo was May 2007. I noted the temps in my river log & they fluctuated between a low of 60 & a high of 85 degrees.

I would suggest that you most certainly take a good set of raingear. A decent set of polypro longjohns, or something similiar might be nice to have.
I would also suggest that you carry a water proof "dump bag" with a complete change of clothes, and fire building material.

If there have been heavy rains "prior" to your trip, or "during" your trip, be aware that the water level on the Buffalo can change dramatically in a short period of time. At high levels, the difficulty on some of the upper sections of the Buffalo can change fairly dramatically & quickly.
If you plan on camping on a gravel bar on the river, and rain is predicted, you would be wise to choose a campsite with an "escape route".

Beautiful river.

Good luck,

Thanks Bob. I will do as you suggest and may call the rental place at Ponca.

Another suggestion…
Check out the Buffalo river website.

Be sure you are familiar with the regulations concerning coolers(MUST be secured against accidental opening), no bottles in your boat, or your cooler while on the river(NONE), and the presence of a net trash bag(ALL trash in the bag), not in your boat. I may be wrong, but if I remember correctly; if you are having a “frosty beverage” while paddling, said frosty beverage can needs to be in a holder that will float if accidentally dropped.

I wouldn’t test the rangers on any of those regulations, but if you do, and if you get caught, the fine may ruin your trip.


I paddled the Buffalo in March of 2001. We had temps as high as 44f. and as low as 15 most nights. We paddled in wetsuits, and dry tops. Remember to put anything you do not want frozen in your sleeping bag.

It would be…
While it is certainly possible that you experienced freezing temps in Arkansas in March; it would be unusual for temps to be below freezing in Arkansas in April.

Check the weather forecast prior to the trip.