Can You Kayak on the Buffalo River?

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a new adventure, kayaking on the Buffalo River in Arkansas might be just the thing for you. The Buffalo River is a national treasure that offers some of the best kayaking experiences in North America.

What Makes the Buffalo River Ideal for Kayaking?

First, let’s talk about what makes the Buffalo River so special. The river is 135 miles long and flows through the Ozark Mountains, which means it has plenty of twists and turns, rapids, and scenic views. It’s also home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the country, including over 300 species of birds.

What You Need to Know Before Kayaking on the Buffalo River

Before you hit the water, there are a few things you need to know. First and foremost, safety should be your top priority.

Always wear a life jacket and stay alert for any potential hazards such as rocks or fallen trees. It’s also important to check the weather forecast before you head out and avoid kayaking during heavy rain or thunderstorms.

Secondly, you’ll need to obtain a permit from the National Park Service if you plan on kayaking in designated areas of the Buffalo National River. These permits can be obtained at various locations throughout the park or online.

The Best Time to Kayak on the Buffalo River

The best time to kayak on the Buffalo River is during spring and early summer when water levels are typically higher. This allows for a more exciting ride through rapids and provides access to areas that might not be navigable during lower water levels.

During late summer and fall, water levels tend to be lower which can make kayaking more challenging in certain areas but also offers more opportunities for swimming and exploring shallow pools along the riverbanks.

  • Tip: Be sure to check water levels before planning your trip. You can find current river levels online or by contacting the National Park Service.

Choosing the Right Kayak

When it comes to kayaking on the Buffalo River, choosing the right kayak is key. There are various types of kayaks such as sit-on-top, sit-inside, and inflatable kayaks that all offer different advantages and disadvantages.

It’s important to consider factors such as your experience level, the type of water you’ll be kayaking in, and how much gear you’ll need to bring along.


Kayaking on the Buffalo River is an unforgettable experience that offers stunning scenery, exciting rapids, and ample opportunities for wildlife viewing. With proper planning and safety precautions, anyone can enjoy this amazing natural wonder. So why not grab a kayak and hit the water today?

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins