Lodging FAQs

Please see our COVID-19 Response page for current available activities, lodging, and services.

 

Directions

Learn how to get to Ponca and Buffalo Outdoor Center. Please be aware that current vehicle-equipped GPS systems do not contain databases adequate for helping you reach Ponca. MapQuest is also insufficient in helping you reach Ponca.

Check-In / Check-Out Times

Until further notice: Check-in is 4:00 PM and check-out is 10:00 AM, so our housekeeping staff may have adequate time to prepare for arrivals in accordance with cleaning practices based on the Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 recommended sanitation practices. Thank you for your kind understanding and cooperation. We hope to resume regular check-in and check-out times (3:00 PM and 11:00 AM, respectively) by April 19, 2020.

After-Hours Arrival

For guests arriving after our store has closed for the evening, we place your cabin key and a cabin map inside an envelope, write your last name on it and then attach the envelope to a bulletin board outside the front of our office.

Cabin Amenities

Your cabin is fully furnished with all linens, as well as a microwave, full-size refrigerator, standard kitchen utensils / pots and pans / dinnerware / coffee pot, beautiful fireplace (RiverWind Lodge the fireplace exception) and TV with DVD player and some cabins have Dish Network Service available.

Cancellation | Cabin Capacity | Pets & More

Thank you for reviewing important know-before-you-come lodging policies and guidelines prior to arrival.

Free Dvd Library

Since we don’t have cable or TV reception in Ponca, we offer a nice selection of complimentary DVDs for you to check out during your stay.

Daily Hot Tub Maintenance

If your cabin features a hot tub, please note that for your maximum enjoyment, we service it DAILY somewhere between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. So, that’s an FYI should you be a skinny dipper type of hot tubber!

Cabin Guidebook

On your cabin’s coffeetable is a guidebook full of useful information about enjoying your cabin stay, as well as finding adventure in Buffalo River country. Please be sure to look for it immediately upon arrival!

Cabins with Wifi & Dish Network Service

All BOC cabins and lodges feature free WiFi, even those located in Ponca. These select cabins feature both complimentary WiFi and Dish Network Service:

  • Arkansas Cabin
  • Balloon Cabin
  • Big Sky Cabin
  • Buffalo River Cabin
  • Cabin X
  • Compton Mountain Cabin
  • Creekside Cabin
  • Elkhorn Cabin
  • Foxfire Cabin
  • Morning Glory Cabin
  • Mountain Ecstasy
  • Mountain Magic
  • Mountain Sunrise
  • Mountain Sunset Cabin
  • Ponca Creek Lodge
  • Wanderlust Cabin
  • Waterfall Cabin
  • Wildwood Cabin
  • Windridge Cabin
  • RiverWind Lodge

Cabins without Dish Network service include: Cabin 1 | Cabin 2 | Cabin 4 | Songbird Cabin | Mills Cabin | Crossbow Cabin | Valley Mist | Valley Dream

Groceries

The new BOC store carries a selection of pantry staples, including butter, milk, soda, popular canned good items, ice and ice cream. However, Ponca does not have a full-scale grocery store, so you will want to bring fresh meat like steaks and hamburger, as well as fresh produce with you. Or, plan to shop in nearby Jasper (14 miles) or Harrison (25 miles) for them. If you are floating, be sure to purchase items like mustard and mayonnaise in plastic containers as glass is prohibited on the Buffalo National River. For your convenience, we carry a nice selection of river-friendly condiments in our store.

Need Help Stocking Your Cabin’s Fridge?

Call us at least 24 hours before you arrive and we’ll take an order for grocery items from our store and have them waiting for you at the cabin! Please note there is a $25 charge for this service in addition to the grocery items purchased, which will be charged to the credit card holding your reservation.

Grilling at Your Cabin

Your cabin is equipped with a charcoal grill (Cabin X, Compton Mountain and RiverWind Lodge have propane). We offer charcoal and lighter fluid for sale in our store or you may bring it with you.

Area Dining

The BOC store now features a deli crafting hearty, wholesome sandwiches, plus serving up ice-cold drinks, coffee, soft serve ice cream and more!  Nearby Jasper (14 miles) has several hometown restaurants that serve up a good, square meal. About 4 miles from Ponca is the Low Gap Wi-Fi Cafe where for dinner you’ll find some pretty sophisticated Italian entrees for these parts! In Harrison (25 miles), you’ll find steakhouses, several Mexican restaurants, and a selection of fast-food offerings. For a special meal, we highly recommend DeVito’s (just a little north of Harrison on Hwy 65) for authentic Italian food, as well as rainbow trout served a number of delicious ways.

Adult Beverage Stores

Newton County is dry with the nearest beer and wine available in Harrison, about 25 minutes from Ponca. Shaker Beverage Shoppe in Harrison has a nice variety of beverages, including an extensive wine collection.  Park regulation reminder: glass containers are prohibited on the Buffalo National River, so be sure to purchase cans or boxed beverages for river floating and camping.

Canoeing & Canopy Tour Reservations

If you are staying with us during the weekend, be sure you have made advance reservations for canoes / kayaks / rafts, as well as the zip line canopy tour. These are not automatically added to your reservation, so please give us a call at 1-870-861-5514 if you don’t recall discussing this or want to book your reservations now. Please note that float trips on our section of Buffalo National River typically occurs March – June, although we offer kayak, canoe and raft rental any time of year the water level permits.

Hiking & Other Activities

Ponca is home to Arkansas’ most beautiful hiking trails and our staff is ready to help you discover where to find every one of them. Late spring through early fall, you’ll find the swimming holes at Ponca and nearby Steel Creek to be among the prettiest in the state or just a great place to sit and enjoy a picnic lunch. Love to trail ride? Our friends at nearby Rimrock Cove Ranch have a beautiful place and love to introduce new riders to the thrill of being on horseback. For cave lovers, we recommend a visit to Mystic Caverns, where you can tour two different beautiful caverns that also have a Prohibition story. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (50 minutes form Ponca) is also a worthwhile visit, as it is a rescue sanctuary for lions, tigers, and, yes, even bears!

Hiking with Pets

The National Park Service does not permit pets on trails. A pet may, however, be in a campground, but always on a leash. You may also float with your pet, but we’d highly recommend it be on a leash if you stop on the shoreline along the way. You may hike with your pet in National Forest lands, which include the popular Whitaker Point (Hawksbill Crag) trail and the Glory Hole off Hwy 21 South (check with us in the office for directions to the Glory Hole).

Bug Spray & Sunscreen

You’ll enjoy your stay to the fullest if you are armed with some bug repellent and sunscreen, especially during late spring through early fall. Applying some of both before a hike or float trip will help guard against the discomfort that comes from chigger bites or sunburn. We carry these items in our store should you have left yours at home.

Gasoline

Our fuel station is open 24 hours a day with gasoline or diesel. Please use your credit card at the pump. Our fuel station will not accepted American Express cards or Fleet Cards.

Cell Service

Ponca itself does not receive cell service, due to the steep terrain surrounding it. However, cell service tends to be available at our mountain-top cabins located on Firetower Road about 3 miles above Ponca, especially if you subscribe to a major service provider such as AT&T or Verizon.

Phone Messages

If you have someone at home who needs to contact you, please give them our 1-870-861-5514 number for use during business hours:

8 AM – 6 PM, Mar – Oct
8 AM – 5 PM, Nov – Feb

Please note that it is a guest’s responsibility to check for messages.

Emergencies During Your Stay

Because Ponca is located in a wilderness area, emergency responders and facilities are not just down the street. However, by having the right phone numbers at hand, emergency help can arrive much sooner than later. Visit Upper Buffalo National River Emergency Numbers for more info. We recommend printing this page off and carrying a copy with you in your vehicle while visiting the area. Plus, you should also leave a copy for a sitter or caregiver to reference back at home. After-hours emergencies should be reported to 911 or to the Newton County Sherriff’s office at 870-446-5124.

Emergencies Back at Home

Make sure whomever is at home knows the name of the cabin you are in and its approximate location (Ponca / Firetower Road / Compton Mtn Cabin on Hwy 43). Printing off our cabin map and circling your cabin with a pen will enable a loved one or sitter to help authorities find you more quickly. If our store is open, please have them call us at 1-870-861-5514 and we will post a message at your cabin. If an after-hours emergency, they should call the Newton County Sherriff’s Office at 870-446-5124 for assistance.

2021 Holiday & Seasonal Reservations

For BOC Cabins & Lodges

Spring Break Season

March 1 – May 26: a 2-night minimum stay is required for a reservation that includes any of these dates.

Summer Holidays & Peak Season
  • Memorial Day Weekend / May 27-31: a 3-night minimum stay is required for a reservation that includes any of these dates.
  • Summer Peak Season / Jun 1 -Aug 31: a 2-night minimum stay is required for a reservation including any of these dates.
  • Labor Day / Sep 2 – Sep 6: a 3-night minimum stay is required for a reservation including any of these dates.
  • Fall Peak Season / Sept 22 – Nov 23: a 2-night minimum stay is required for a reservation including any of these dates.
Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Years
  • Nov 24 – Nov 28: a 3-night minimum stay is required for a reservation including any of these dates.
  • Dec 23 – Jan 2, 2022: a 2-night minimum stay is required for a reservation including any of these dates.

For the RV Campground

  • Memorial Day Weekend / May 27-31: a 3-night minimum stay is required for a reservation that includes any of these dates.
  • Labor Day / Sep 2 – Sep 6: a 2-night minimum stay is required for a reservation including any of these dates.
Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Years
  • Nov 24 – nov 28: a 3-night minimum stay is required for a reservation including any of these dates.
  • Dec 23 – Jan 2, 2022: a 2-night minimum stay is required for a reservation including any of these dates.

Did we miss something? Give us a call at 1-870-861-5514 or contact us now!

Buffalo Outdoor Center is authorized within Buffalo National River to provide canoe rentals and transportation services.

Cabin in the misty mountains

Other Questions?

Did we miss something? Send us a message and we'll be in touch!

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