Buffalo River Trail is a 0.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ponca, AR that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Hwy. #21 crosses the Buffalo River: Travel approximately 1.1 miles south. The trail currently starts at the old Whitely Homestead. From the trailhead, cross the highway, follow the gravel road through the gate and cross Smith Creek. Just past the creek, turn left off the road and go around the edge of a large field until you pick up the trail which begins to wind up the hill.
Hiked from Boxley to Erbie in summer. It is a beautiful hike and saw a lot of wildlife; deer, armadillo, skunk, hogs, etc. However, I wouldn't recommend hiking during summer; it's too humid and full of ticks, chiggers and mosquitos. I'd assume it's a lot nicer in fall.
Great trail. Hiked from Ponca to Pruitt.
I have now done this hike twice, following the same routine:
Day 1 - have my car shuttled to Pruitt by the helpful folks at the Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca. Hike from Ponca to somewhere the Erbie campground (or nearby).
Day 2, morning - finish the hike from Erbie to Pruitt, drive out at around noon.
Lovely hike, great views and some historical buildings, farms, and cemeteries along the way. Hike in the fall, winter, or early spring - before the heat and bugs come!
Hiked in spring. Started at Ponca and had a local canoe place shuttle our car to Pruitt (would recommend). The first day it was on and off rain which made for a lot of really nice water features.
We hiked 4 miles the first day ( got there around 2).
Hiked 9 miles the second day.
Hiked 12 miles the third day.
Hiked the rest on day 4.
The first two and a half days are the hardest with some high elevation gains. The last day was fairly easy with much flatter terrain.
A lot of small falls and really nice stream crossings.
There is a great farmstead with a creek running through it to check out towards the end of the trip. We lost the trail for a bit after the farmstead by just followed the river till we picked it back up.
Note that you are not within access to the river most of the hike. Usually you are up above it on the bluffs. Most of the campgrounds however are along the river.
I trudged seven miles of the second section of this trail, from Woolum to U.S. 65 (halfway), in May 2012. I started at the Woolum Campground, at the east end of the Ozark Highland Trail where it meets up with the west end of the Buffalo River Trail. Got dropped off at campground where there were about thirty people camping. Crossed south over a small bit of water to locate the TH and from there it was uphill, about 1,200 ft elevation, for two hours and about two miles eastward onto the ridge. Tough going with a too-heavy pack, and more strenuous than I anticipated so I didn't get far; planned to get seven miles on day one and only got two miles. Camped out near firepit at Dave Manes Bluff overlook, which was incredible. Much easier hiking level ground on the ridge on the second day, and down to Margaret White Road, then the Slay Cemetery, then back up the incline to Slay Branch Bluff and Whisenant Bluff. All the bluff overlooks were beautiful and very satisfying to reach after what I found to be tough hiking. Trailhead markings were clear all along and so was the trail. Saw a couple of park rangers near Margaret White Road. Also no water until I reached a creek at Whisenant Hollow, about six miles in, at which point I was empty four out of five bottles, so good timing. At Whisenant Bluff, wiped out and low on supplies, I cut the trip short by calling (Verizon cell service was surprisingly good along the ridges) for a canoe rental company to pick me up for $75 that afternoon at the Love Hensley Road trailhead. Saw some deer and snakes along the trail, and picked up my share of ticks, but lots of shade generally, so not too hot even in May. I planned to hike the entire way east from the Woolum Campground to the Tyler Bend Visitor Center off of Highway 65 (where I checked in initially and picked up a great map); turned out I barely made it halfway; approximately seven miles out of fourteen. The second half of the trail would likely have been easier with less elevation change, and also it follows a road for most of that way which offers a little more safety for a solo hiker. I’d go into it again being more prepared for a challenge, and a good three days on my own for the entire distance that I had planned. Note: According to the Arkansas state trail site, “there are currently two completed sections of the BRT which run from Boxley to Pruitt (36.5 miles) and from Woolum to U.S. 65 (15 miles) … It is also one of the state’s most rugged trails due to the topography of the Buffalo River Valley.” Ain’t that the truth. -- http://www.arkansas.com/outdoors/hiking/trail-detail.aspx?trail=Buffalo+River+Trail&type=B
I've only hiked a small portion of this trail from Steel Creek Campground towards Kyle's Landing spending the night at a dispersed camp spot, then returning back to Steel Creek the following morning. The climb out of Steel Creek is amazing with a great overlook as an award!
Great trail from Ponca to Pruitt but NOT from boxley to ponca. The trail disappears in several places and it lacks trail markers, most people wind up taking elk trails by accident. There are great veiws on other parts of the trail, and I would definitely hike it more but not from boxley to ponca, it was not worth it.
Great scenery, some trails hard to navigate due to poor trail markers.
Beautiful but difficult trail to follow.
Beautiful. Challenging in a few areas. Can't wait to go back.
we hiked the buffalo river trail from ponca to pruitt Christmas week 2014. This was a great time for us, the weather was mild. We took our time and did the hike in 5 days, enjoying the scenery as we went. It was a great hike for us, as we are new to backpacking. A little more than we thought it was going to be, but we made it and plan to do it again,