Do you love paddling a canoe or kayak past jaw-dropping scenery? Then here’s all you need to know—it’s Spring in the Ozarks and the Buffalo National River in Arkansas is RV camping and paddling at its best.
One-hundred twenty five miles north of Little Rock in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, it’s easy to reach this magnificent stretch of undammed water from almost anywhere in the US. Whether you’re coming from Dallas (seven hours on I-30) or Chicago (nine hours on I-55), it’s an easy long-weekend trek, especially when you’re coming by RV.
But you may be asking just what it is that draws paddlers from every state to this river. Did we mention this is one of the last undammed waterways in America? For nearly one-hundred fifty miles, you can float past four-story limestone bluffs, navigate around gravel bars large enough for a stopover, watch the shoreline and shallows for Rocky Mountain elk and black bears or idle your watercraft in the shade of a willow while preparing to launch down Class II rapids.
Spring in the Ozark Mountains makes the journey especially spectacular, when hardwood forests burst into life, providing a lush backdrop for the caves, craggy hollows and secret trails all along the waterway.
If you’ve never floated a river or don’t own a canoe, you can still experience the region’s magnificent scenery from the water. Simply book a float trip with one of the authorized outfitters and let them handle the details.
And there’s another reason why thousands float these waters every year—the scenic campsites within the National Park Service boundaries make it easy to stay close to the action while enjoying the comforts of RV camping. You’ll also find excellent Arkansas campgrounds throughout the region, whether you’re putting in on the Upper, Middle or Lower Buffalo River.
Need a bit more incentive to pack the RV and head for Arkansas for spring floating season? When you’re ready to stretch your legs after a morning on the water, more than ninety-five-thousand acres of pristine wilderness are waiting to be explored. Local hikers recommend the trails within the Ponca Wilderness in the Upper River Region, where you’ll find waterfalls, box canyons, wildlife and stunning Ozark Mountain vistas in an unspoiled setting.
Just in case you’re still undecided, paddling enthusiasts who also love to fish will be thrilled to learn you can fish year-round on the river. Fly fishing for smallmouth bass is especially popular, so use this handy guide to licensing, regulations and Arkansas fishing reports and start packing your gear.
There’s a wonderland waiting in the Ozarks where paddling, camping, fishing and hiking are just the beginning of the adventure. We’d love to help make it the best adventure possible, so let us know when you’re ready to go. Bring your family or your favorite paddling buddies and come find out why the Buffalo National River has been preserved as a genuine national treasure.
Photo Attribution: By National Park Service Digital Image Archives [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons