Lew Racewalker

Welcome to the Buffalo National River

Buffalo River map
Upper Buffalo map
Lower Buffalo map

To the west, the Buffalo River begins as a trickle in the Boston Mountains. It flows 135 miles to the east through the Ozarks and into the White River. The Buffalo is the only fully-protected river in the Ozarks.

Following what is likely an ancient riverbed, the Buffalo cuts its way through massive limestone bluffs. The water temperatures and river levels change dramatically with the seasons, attesting that the river is influenced more by runoff and tributaries than by springs. The Buffalo is rather small and narrow in the upper portions and gets wider and lazier the farther downstream it flows.

The headwaters of the Buffalo National River

The water runs swift on the Upper River

The river is wild and is protected as such.There are no roads which parallel the river and few easily accessed overlooks; therefore, the best way to see the park is by trail or by water.

Upstream from the Highway 7 Bridge in winter.

This National River is managed as three districts, each having individual characteristics. Each district has its own visitor contact station and canoe concessions, and each is best reached by primary roads which naturally tend to divide the river. To gain a full appreciation of what the park has to offer, the following is a description of the three districts.