Here is some essential introductory information about Buffalo River camping, plus, you will want to visit the National Park Service’s Buffalo National River page for additional camping information.
Upper Buffalo National River Campgrounds
The upper Buffalo River features several National Park Service campgrounds with pretty scenery…arguably the prettiest in the park! The campgrounds of the upper Buffalo River are: Steel Creek, Kyle’s Landing, Erbie, Ozark, Carver, and Mount Hersey. The Steel Creek and Kyle’s Landing campgrounds are the most popular because of their proximity to the Ponca-to-Kyle’s Landing section of river. These are primitive campgrounds with basic tent site accommodations, including space for up to 3 tents (max of 6 peole per site), a picnic table, fire grate and lantern pole. Sites are $20 per night / per site. Drinking water faucets are available, as well as pit and flush toilets. (Please note that flush toilets are closed from November through early March.) There are no shower facilities. Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash at all times in campgrounds.
First-Come, First-Serve Camping
National Park Service campgrounds on the upper Buffalo River (besides Steel Creek Campground) do not accept reservations. So, if your plans include a spring weekend outing, you’ll want to arrive early in order to secure a site, as it is not uncommon for the campgrounds to be filled by Friday evening. To reserve a campsite at Steel Creek visit Recreation.gov.
No Electricity, Phone or RV Facilities
Please note that none of the upper river campgrounds have electricity or shower facilities (from Ponca to Carver). The campgrounds do, however, have running water, pit and/or flush toilets, and tent camping sites with a grill grate, lantern pole, and picnic table. Please note that cell phones cannot receive reception at campgrounds due to the geography and lack of towers in this area. If you have an RV, you should call the NPS at 870-741-5443 for campsite recommendations.
You may camp along the river or hiking trail in a site of your own choosing as long as you stay ½ mile ABOVE or BELOW a designated National Park Service campground. This type of camping is FREE, but certain park service guidelines and regulations do apply such as those relating to trash and fire rings. Check with the NPS headquarters in Harrison at 870-741-5443 for specific details. Always camp with rising water in mind. Check qualified weather forecast sources before choosing to launch. Choose a camp site that offers an escape out by land.
Backpacking the Buffalo River?
For backpackers, we offer vehicle shuttle services that you can depend on. Please contact us or simply walk in our store to arrange your shuttle. We can also help with planning your backpacking itinerary or provide you with information about the grocery and camping supplies we carry in our store.