Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Buffalo National River with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The views while walking along the bluffs were awesome! The rest of the hike, we couldn't see anything besides dense forest. Also, several sections of the trail were in fairly poor condition, with some steep sections of mainly loose rocks.

Hike this last year. Amazing views along the goat trail. Views make the strenuous hike back up well worth it.

Spectacular views of the Buffalo River valley! A bit strenuous hiking back up. Would certainly recommend bringing water, some high protein snacks/lunch, and a pair of hiking boots to traverse the loose rock and occasional muddy patches. Trekking poles may come in handy as well on the steeper portions.

backpacking
3 days ago

Well, I had high expectations and the pictures were amazing. Unfortunately for me, the growth was up quite a bit already and the views were limited. I think it would be wiser to complete this hike early spring before the growth takes off or after the leaves drop.

Beautiful. The best views we’ve seen. An amazing spot!

Beautiful trail. The parking is a gravel parking lot right off the road. Very easy to find. I went on a Monday morning and the trail was not busy at all. The views are breathtaking. The hike back out is extremely hard. All up hill and there are about 4 big hills you have walk up. I would suggest taking trekking poles and LOTS of water. You will need it on your way out. The trail is very well marked and easy to follow. This trail is hard but the views are well worth it! I definitely will be coming back!!!

Great hiking trail, that return leg is incredible steep. Make sure you bring plenty of water!

well marked, good distance for a day hike, fun scenery

Simply amazing!

The goat trail is one of my favorite hikes in this area. Easy but rocky downhill hike on the way in and a little challenging coming back out. The amazing views from the bluffs are well worth the effort!

A friend and I backpacked this trail (Buffalo River Trail with connecting trails to the Old River Trail) earlier this week. We actually began at the trail’s beginning at the Boxley trailhead, which is 11 miles southwest of the Ponca trailhead, and we hiked to the trail’s conclusion at Pruitt, some 37 miles from Boxley; we took four days to hike and camped three nights. Past Steel Creek, we took a connecting trail (marked “Primitive Trail”) down from the BRT in the mountains to the ORT along the river. We followed the ORT to Jim’s Bluff, where we spent our second of three nights. The next day, we followed this old and poorly-marked horse trail to Hemmed-In Hollow, which is a box canyon containing the tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and Rockies; from there, we trekked along the ORT for three more miles in our water shoes to reconnect with the BRT at Kyle’s Landing.

We fell in love with this trail—what a wild, beautiful and unforgiving terrain with incredible views, ozark glades, waterfalls, wildlife and homestead ruins around every bend. Something to consider, though: while we found many backcountry campsites with water sources toward the beginning of the trail, we found very few toward the end. Past Kyle’s Landing, the trail stayed high above the river, and with little remaining light, we were forced to stealth-camp past Erbie at one of the only sections of trail with river access. (We could have camped at Erbie campground if we’d carried more cash and less pride.)

backpacking
2 months ago

Did this back in 1979. Visited Hemmed in Hollow. Beautiful scenery !

I’d say “moderate” is a fairly conservative rating. Pretty rocky in places and the uphill hike back is no joke. My legs are gonna be worthless in the morning. However, the views were worth every step. Absolutely incredible!

One of the best sections of the Buffalo River Trail, due to access to river bank, view of historic railroad bridge piers and Red Bluff. Thanks to local citizens who adopt this trail and keep in good shape.

We hiked this trail the other day. It was a little over 6.5 miles roundtrip taking the Goat Trail to the Big Bluff with around a 1000 ft. descent going in and a 1000 ft. ascent coming back. The trail is an old logging trail and can be rocky at times. The views are definitely worth the hike. The goat trail is narrow, but is not dangerous if you are paying attention. Bringing a lunch and having a picnic at the Bluff is a memory that we will cherish.

This is one of my favorite hikes in the Buffalo. It’s view is stunning. The hike is difficult but so worth the effort! You can continue the trail down to the river but sometimes it’s closed so beware!

Awesome hike! Lots of water to tred through along the way, beautiful sights, and good swimming hole spots!

Down the entire way to the goat trail and bluff so be prepared for that! Some of the descents (and eventually ascents) are steep and the rainy weather makes them all that much more difficult but not bad at all and very doable! I’m not in shape and I only had to take a break once at the very end.

The scenery is nice on the way to the goat trail, but the goat trail is gorgeous and makes the whole trip worth while and then some! Highly recommend. We stopped and spent a good amount of time at the end and still got back to the car in 3.5 hours.

hiking
3 months ago

I absolutely love this trail. Somewhat challenging but very much worth it. If you’re a photographer, great place to go shoot! :)

Beautiful views. Downhill on way in so plan for uphill on way back. We rested a little on way back up. Really worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked down to the bluff first! Amazing views!! Easy trip down!! Then we hiked above the bluff!!! Even better views!! Next we went back to the bluff then went right further down to the river!! Worth the hike down!! After the river we went to granny’s house!! Neat little place!!! Lastly after all of that we hiked ALL the way back up!!! We spent about 6-7 hours exploring!!! The hike from top to bottom was rough so take breaks and go steady. Had we just don’t the bluff it probably wouldn’t have been to hard back up. Enjoy!!!!!

This hike is totally worth the view! It took us a little under an hour to make it down and about an hour and a half to make it back up. We brought a lunch and hung out on the bluff for a little while. Make sure you bring enough water and a snack. The hike back up has some hard patches, but it’s doable. We stopped about 3 times on the way back out for a breather and water break.

No real scenery until you get to the cliffs but once you get to the cliffs the view is amazing!

backpacking
3 months ago

Nice hike. Nice views. Good cardio going back up! I definitely recommend doing an overnighter. Really nice!

Great overlook! Well worth the uphill trek out!

Hiked down to the goat trail in the snow on January 14th. It was beautiful and worth every step. Kinda steep coming back up hill. A must see!!

The hike back up is no joke!! Not to mention the decent being somewhat difficult as well. I’m a young, slightly out of shape, but otherwise healthy person and it was definitely doable, but by no means leisurely. The views are totally worth it, even in winter!! The actual bluff/ goat trail was not as intimidating as I thought but I’m not afraid of heights in the first place. Personally, I would not bring kids even though I saw some on the hike. There was even a family with a baby and a stroller and they were definitely having a difficult time back up. Otherwise I 10/10 recommend this hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail. Very nice winter views! Like the previous reviews say easy walk to Big Bluff...all downhill. Hike out another story all uphill.. definitely allow extra time heading back to the trailhead. Great wildlife saw both deer and wild hogs on my hike. Be very careful on the Goat Trail on the Bluff! You can still get amazing views without crossing the ledge. It is literally breathtaking! Worth the walk!!!

I did this trail in December and had a great time. I liked the fact that the river came fairly close to the trail several times eliminating the need to carry large amounts of water. The views were nice and there were some old homesteads and cemeteries along the way. The creek crossing to start the trail was a little brisk but there is a fire ring just up from the waters edge and if you strip before crossing,the warming up and drying out is a quick process. At the time of my crossing the water was about crotch deep at the deepest part and there was no current.

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