Where we launch you for a day trip is dependent upon a number of factors, with water level tending to be the most influential factor. The National Park Service also limits where outfitters can launch on Saturdays in May. The launch site is determined each morning by our General Manager. When making your boat(s) reservation, please remember that a specific launch site is not guaranteed. With this in mind, below are the day-trip options from which we choose on our section of the Buffalo National River.
This is our most popular Buffalo National River canoe trip and without a doubt the river’s most scenic. Ponca is home to the finest canoeing in Arkansas and arguably the best paddling in mid-America!
This section is 10-miles long and takes around 4 to 6 hours to complete, depending upon the individual, the river level and the amount of time you linger along the way. It features the scenic icons of the upper Buffalo River: majestic Big Bluff and Hemmed-In Hollow, both the tallest of their kind (bluff face and waterfall, respectively) between the Rockies and the Appalachians.
DOWNLOAD A FLOAT TRIP MAP
Download (and print!) a handy map of the Ponca-to-Kyle's float trip here!
Please note that on Saturdays in May, outfitters are required to launch 2 miles downriver at Steel Creek. Private boaters, however, may launch in Ponca on Saturdays during those months, water level permitting.
When river conditions are too low to launch in Ponca, we move 2 miles downriver to the Steel Creek launch (10 minutes from Ponca on Hwy. 74) where you’ll canoe 8 miles to Kyle’s Landing.
When upper Buffalo National River conditions are too low to canoe from Steel Creek, we then move 24 miles downriver to the Pruitt launch (on Hwy. 7, about 5 miles north of Jasper), where you’ll canoe about 8 miles to Hasty. The day-trip float on this section of river takes about 4 or 5 hours to complete. From a scenery standpoint, this is the second prettiest section of Buffalo National River with many nice bluffs featured along the way.
Download (and print!) a handy map of the Pruitt to Hasty float trip here!
Depending upon the month, launch times may vary somewhat. For example, in March when days are shorter, the latest launch time may be Noon or earlier. In April, May and June, when there's more daylight to be had, we may launch boats as late as 1:00 PM.
Click here to review our Boat Rental & Shuttle Service rate information page.
Click here if you'd like to review our canoe / kayak / raft rental and risk agreement prior to arrival.
BE AWARE: The NPS has adopted a "zero-tolerance" position on music played on radios, boomboxes and other devices that interfere with the natural, quiet ambience of the designated wilderness area between Steel Creek and Kyle's Landing accesses. You may, however, enjoy music within the campgrounds. Just remember, please, that many people come to the river for peace and quiet, so play music within earshot of your campfire, rather than your neighbor's. ;)
Need a little help knowing how the boat rental / car shuttle process works on this river? Then, simply click here! BUFFALO RIVER PADDLER'S GUIDE
While it's possible for us to have a water level conducive to floating any time of year, our season is typically March through June. Although if rainfall brings the river up, we immediately post the availability of water on our Current Buffalo River Level Report. However, for river trips July through Labor Day, you'll want to contact an outfitter on the middle or lower Buffalo National River. Visit this National Park Service page for a list of outfitters offering canoe rental on the middle and lower Buffalo National River.
After visiting the Buffalo National River and being served by Buffalo Outdoor Center, we encourage you to share your experience with the National Park Service / Buffalo National River Headquarters via a special comment form. It's a great way to:
Simply click on this link to open a PDF of the form: Buffalo National River Comment Form. Then, fax, email or mail it back to the National Park Service / Buffalo National River Headquarters (contact information is provided on the form). Each form is personally reviewed by the park superintendent, so it's a great way to directly share your thoughts with park leadership!