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Tips For Traveling

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Planning ahead always makes a more enjoyable trip into nature.  It is even more important if you are less experienced.  We have some links to help insure a safe and happy trip.   This link will show you camping opportunities within the park, guides for safe camping in the wild, which parts of the river to float in certain times of the year and what shuttle services are available, which trails allow dogs, some plants and animals you are likely to see on your visit to the Buffalo National River, and other suggestions to reap the most benefits in your visit to the Buffalo National River. 

Free ranger programs during your visit are available for more education about the Buffalo National River area.  Utilize these to learn more about our region.

 Since there are well over a million visitors each year to the Buffalo National River, here are some tips on how to stay safe and how to leave behind what you have enjoyed so that others can who follow.  Leave No Trace employs principles on how to be a courteous and knowledgeable visitor and how to teacher your children to be.    and 

Floating, hiking, or camping in mountainous regions can be tricky.  Weather upriver can determine flash floods or whether you have enough water for an enjoyable float without dragging your canoe or kayak through yards of shoals.  There are several river gauges that will help with planning your trip so that the water fits your ability and safety.

Watching the weather seems pretty common sensible when an outdoor trip is planned whether it is for camping, hiking, or paddling.However, if you are not familiar with mountainous regions and how quickly water levels can change that can float away your entire campsite, not knowing the weather can be life-threatening.Weather where you presently camp is not the only weather you need to consider.Rainfall in the upper regions of the Buffalo can impact the entire river when it may be dry and sunny in the lower regions.Please check the weather for all regions before and during your trip.Keep in mind that you will not always have satellite service from several areas of the Buffalo River because of the many bluffs.Take advantage of areas when satellite service is available to check weather sites or call friends and family who may be tracking for you.

Finally, what do you need for a safe and legal Buffalo River Float trip? We have a page just for that here.


Your friends at Buffalo National River Partners

Water Level and Skill Level


River level readings indicate the condition of the river for recreation. These readings are taken at four locations along the river. Each reading is unique and pertains only to that area.

  • Very low – The river is dry in places, be prepared to portage your boat.

  • Low but floatable – River moves slow with many exposed obstacles (big rocks).

  • Ample water for floating – The river moves at an average of 2 mph, allowing canoes to float over most rocks.

  • Experienced floaters only – The river flows swiftly. Compromising situations may occur. Canoeing experience on swift moving rivers is necessary. All canoeists must possess good river canoeing skills and must be familiar with rescue procedures.
    Flood stage – the river flows outside its normal banks. Flood waters move quickly and carry debris. River conditions are hazardous even for highly skilled canoeists.




Safe and happy travels!