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America the Beautiful: Buffalo National River – Arkansas

America the Beautiful: Buffalo National River – Arkansas

America the Beautiful

With more than 3.5 million square miles to explore, there is no better time to get out and discover all the spectacular sights the USA has to offer. 

Next Stop: The Buffalo National River ~ Arkansas

The Buffalo National River is one of Arkansa’s most stunning natural wonders. 

In 1972, the Buffalo River was designated as America’s first national river. Originating in the Boston Mountains, the highest section of the Ozarks, the free-flowing river spans across the state for 135 miles. With 800,000 visitors annually, the Buffalo River has almost 36,000 acres of Wilderness designated within its borders. 

The river features whitewater rapids, caves, springs, waterfalls, sinkholes, and lazy pools, all surrounded by the breathtaking Ozark Mountains.

calm river waters surrounded by lush foliage in Arkansas

Tranquil image of calm waters on the Buffalo River, Arkansas
Image Credit: ichris2 | Getty Images

The Buffalo National River offers adventure for everyone, with camping, canoeing, fishing, bird-watching, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, over 100 miles of year-round hiking trails, and more than 500 caves. Try the Lost Valley Trail, a 2.2 mile moderately challenging trail that is partially wheelchair accessible. With lush flora, bird-watching, caves, and the focal point, Eden Falls.

3 canoes sit on the edge of the river on calm waters

Canoes on the shore of the Buffalo River, Arkansas
Image Credit: dlewis33 | Getty Images

A waterfall streaming over rocks along the river

A waterfall at Buffalo River, Arkansas
Image Credit: jcrader | Getty Images Signature

People have lived in the region for at least 10,000 years, and the Buffalo River has numerous historical structures. Many of the sites have been preserved. Visitors should contact the Tyler Bend Visitor Center at 870-439-2502 to learn how to access them. A virtual tour of the Boxley Grill Mist site is also available. 

An old cabin on a foggy day in the mountains

An old cabin in the Buffalo National River, Arkansas
Image Credit: jwdorriss | Getty Images

Plenty of camping is available throughout the river’s 3 Wilderness districts, from primitive to modern RV camping. For a list of open sites, rates, and more, visit the Arkansas National Park website.

Fishing is is a popular recreation at the river, with smallmouth bass prominently featured in the upper region. Enthusiasts can also fish for perch and catfish.

Arkansas offers abundant bird-watching, with the Buffalo River being home to roughly 200 species of birds. Aficionados can spot several types of warblers, hawks, woodpeckers, herons, whip-poor-wills, and even bald eagles.

An eagle sits on a branch against an overcast sky

Bald Eagle against an overcast sky | Image Credit: ichris2 | Getty Images

Wildlife can be found everywhere, and visitors can view deer, elk, black bears, otters, turkey vultures, and more. Elk sightings are common throughout the year, and you may even witness the male elk battle for their spot in the herd during mating season.

An elk looks off into the distance against a backdrop of lush green foliage

Rocky Mountain Elk during the fall rut. Buffalo River, Arkansas
Image Credit: bejaminjk | Getty Images

Airport Assistance Worldwide recommends checking with local authorities and resources for the most up-to-date information regarding park access, hours of operation, and some amenities’ potential closures. You can contact the Buffalo National River here.

Visitors should be mindful that even though it’s outdoors, it’s crucial to practice safe social distancing and follow recommended health/safety measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19. 

Nature and its wildlife should be respected at all times. Observe wildlife from a distance and never attempt to touch, disturb or get too close to animals. And always follow the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace whenever you’re out in nature.


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