Frequently Asked Questions

Say Ranger........

When and where is the best place to float the Buffalo River?
The water in the Buffalo National River is dependent on a consistent amount of rainfall throughout the year to provide ample water for floating. At times the river might be exceedingly low or stretches of it may flow underground.

Visitor use along the Buffalo is not evenly distributed over the entire course of the river. Thirty percent of the river receives seventy percent of the canoe traffic. Three of the most used river segments are Ponca to Kyles Landing, Maumee to Buffalo Point, and Highway 14 Bridge to Rush. Peak river use begins in April and ends in August. The most intensive use occurs on the upper river from Ponca to Pruitt in April and May. On the middle and lower sections, river use peaks from June to July. To avoid crowds in the spring, consider floating during the weekdays or floating on a lower section of river, such as Carver to Woolum. To avoid summer crowds consider a trip early in the morning or during the middle of the week. A quiet, early morning trip will offer cooler temperatures, far more opportunities to see wildfile along the river banks, and better fishing. In the spring and late fall the middle and lower section of the river are seldom used. More...

Can I rent canoes in the park?
Actually, not in the park, but just outside, from park-contracted canoe concessioners. These businesses are permitted by the National Park Service to rent canoes, kayaks and rafts, and to provide shuttle services within Buffalo National River. Concessioners provide canoes, paddles, life jackets, mesh litter bags and shuttle service. For an additional fee, some outfitters will shuttle vehicles to a take-out point. We encourage you to contact our concessioners and shop for the services and rates you desire. More...

What should I know about a river trip?
When planning a river float trip, the type of experience you have depends on several factors, including the length of your visit, the season, and the stretch of river you choose to float. Your decisions can be influenced by factors such as temperature, river gradient and water level, and an individual's paddling ability. Together, these variables contribute to the success of your trip. The length of a float trip can range from hours to days, from 1 mile to 130 miles (1.6 to 208 km). Most visitors choose distances of eight miles (12.8 km) or less. Constant paddling does not always make for the most enjoyable trip; while planning your trip, don't forget to consider the time you wish to spend hiking along riverside trails, fishing, and swimming. More...

Can you hike along the Buffalo National River?
Yes. There are over 100 miles (160 km) of maintained trails within the park. Some trails will accommodate hiker and horse use. However, some trails are designed for foot traffic only and are marked with a white blaze. Trails blazed in yellow are hiker/horseback trails. Bicycles are not permitted on any park trails and pets are permitted on only two trails in the park. More...

Can I reserve a campsite?

You sure can! There are three campgrounds that take reservations: Steel Creek (Upper District), Tyler Bend (Middle District), and Buffalo Point (Lower District). Reservations can be made online at All other campgrounds along the river have sites available on a first come, first served basis. More...

Where can I take my pet in the park?
Pets are welcome at Buffalo National River, but there are many restrictions for the safety of the park resources, wildlife, and other visitors. Pets are allowed in all campgrounds, on the river, and on the gravel bars, but must be under physical control at all times. Pets are permitted on seven park trails, but all other trails are closed to pets. More...

Is there a Lost & Found?
Each of the three park districts has a Lost & Found located at its respective visitor contact station. For Upper District, call Steel Creek Ranger Station at 870-861-2570. For Middle District, call Tyler Bend Visitor Center at 870-439-2502. For Lower District, call Buffalo Point Visitor Contact Station at 870-449-4311.

What rules and regulations should I be aware of?
The Superintendent's Compendium is the official source for rules and regulations at Buffalo National River. For more generic river rules, click here.

Is there any wildlife that I should be prepared for in the backcountry?
Buffalo National River is home to an astounding diversity of wildlife. Species of note for backcountry travelers are black bears, feral hogs, elk, and raccoons. Proper backcountry food storage is essential in preventing dangerous wildlife encounters. More...

Last updated: February 25, 2022

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