Explore the most popular camping 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.

We liked this one, but if river levels are low there is not much to see.
The trailhead is very poorly marked with virtually no parking lot, so just beware as you arrive. No bathrooms at trailhead.

hiking
30 days ago

Me and my boyfriend completed this hike on 8/17. The area had heavy rainfall for 3 or 4 days prior so the falls were gorgeous! It is definitely one of the most challenging hikes we have done but it was well worth it. As previous reviews have mentioned, I don’t recommend bringing your kids or dogs, everything was extremely slick (may have been from all of the rain) and the paths were narrow and primitive. There are several little falls along the river but the eye of the needle is at the very end with a large fall coming out of the cave. The ropes up to the eye are well maintained but it’s still pretty steep and not for the faint of heart. Just be very cautious if you choose to go. Looking forward to hiking it again in the fall!

Nice easy hike. Good trail to start your hiking season on.

Attempted to make a 2 mike hike in and set up for the night but had to get hundreds of deer ticks off immediately after stopping to set up. Not exactly the trails fault but I don’t think it is traveled enough for there to not be a problem with ticks. Had good hills right away which seemed very promising!

Got .3 miles in and saw a huge brown animal that we couldn’t identify. Won’t be back here.

Absolutely beautiful!!

This is not a easy trail at all so please don't bring kids and/or pets on this trail! If you walk across the creek it can be slippery on the rocks and can easily hurt yourself as well. There is a trail along the creek but it can be dangerous as it's not wide and at times is close to a 100ft drop. When you do get to the Eye of the Needle there are ropes to climb to help climb up and do use them because if you lose your balance it's not good. Other than the dangers this is a hike that's worth it! Hiked with a friend and we enjoyed all the views that the trail offers!

Made this hike solo on 6/30/18. The most recent rain was 3-4 days prior so the creek bed was fairly dry and it was possible to stay on it without getting too wet. Make no mistake, this is a strenuous hike. Even in the peak of summer there are pools of water that leave the rocks slippery and there are sections that require mild acrobatics to climb. There are some beautiful views and wildlife on the creek bed path. At the end of the creek bed there is a cave which is easy enough to climb up to but I did not enter - there is a sign posted about the bats suffering from White Nose. Close to it there are two ropes that can be used to climb further on to the Eye of the Needle. I did not do so as I did not think it would be worth the risk of injury, and I would definitely recommend taking a partner if you plan on scaling the rope climbs - the nearest help could be 1.5-2 mi of rough terrain away. Took me about 4.5 hrs with multiple stops just to sit and observe the surroundings on the way. Overall, this is a great hike. The physical challenge just adds to the feeling of accomplishment at the end.

We hiked from Boxley to Pruitt (roughly 37 miles) from June 6-9. It was hot and tick-filled but a great backpacking trip! The trail was a bit overgrown in some parts, but still pretty easy to navigate--a good amount of blazes helped! Lots of already established backcountry campsites. Sadly, campers before us did not do a good job practicing LNT principles :-(

Quite a few creek beds were dry but we were still able to find a good amount of water.

hiking
3 months ago

This was a really pretty trail, but it is hard to get to if your not from the area. Needs better signs. It hasn't rained much so the waterfall was a drizzle for us. Pretty views.

We camped at the campground the night before in really hard rainfall so of course the trail was really wet when we went the next day. It was really pretty and we only saw one other group on our hike on memorial day weekend. The trail is kinda hard to find, a park ranger had to point us the right direction. Definitely worth the hike. There are several lookout points and waterfalls along the trail. We were also able to sit at the edge of a waterfall looking out onto the river. It was a great spot for our morning snack!

hiking
3 months ago

Wowsers! Hiked this trail on 05/19/2018 and LOVED it! The water level was WAAAY down, so crossing the creek back and forth to keep on the trail wasn’t an issue. However, that’s not to say the hike was “easy” - This is an incredibly challenging trail - There are extremely slick rocks, ledges the width of your foot that if you slipped, you’d fall down several feet into those extremely slick rocks, boulder scrambling and then of course, the steep rope-aided climb at the end. We planned for 2 hours for this 4.7 mile hike, but it ended up taking us 3 hours and 15 minutes, (keep in mind we went crazy fast on the way back) - You should easily anticipate for 4 hours. For those afraid of heights, or those who aren’t sure-footed, DON’T attempt this hike - If you don’t have any of those issues and you’re at a reasonable fitness level and like challenges, then you’ll love this trail. Do note: the last rope is fraying quite a bit - While the other ropes and anchor-types were great, the last rope’s integrity is seeming sketchy - Would definitely recommend a qualified person looking at replacing in the near future. Also note: I picked up a lone star tick on this trail, so prepare accordingly.

This adventure will be at the top of your list once you conquer it. You'll want to make it an annual journey that can't be missed. The trail is difficult, the water is crisp and the views are spectacular. It is a great trek whether it is wet or dry. Water is always present as it appears from the rocks out of, seemingly, nowhere. Try it, you'll like it.

hiking
4 months ago

My favorite trail in Arkansas. It’s not for the faint of heart though.

Poison Ivy, mosquitos if all trails were like this I’d work out in a gym. Only thing good is the shower at the end.

hiking
4 months ago

I completed this today. I wished for an adventurous trail and believe you me I freakin got it. Some parts of the trail were a bit dangerous and scary. For the most part it was a good time. My favorite part was the rope climb up to the eye. I would do it again just for the climbing ropes!

so pretty during sunset

Fun little trail. Very quiet and peaceful on the way back to the falls.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike! I went last year after a week of heavy rain. I went with my Grandpa who has had both knees replaced, we were also with a family friend who had been to the eye before. It was in the 50° with the creek moving so fast in some places that we had to go off the trail. We had no problem finding the trail until we tried to come back a different way. there is a trail that is very steep and can take you up to the top of the eye without going through it, and it keeps going up to the Buffalo River Trail. The BRT was overgrown and we could not find the trail. We made it back to the parking lot at dusk, we saw a black bear with her two cubs, they stayed in the woods and we walked slowly away. None of us had any problems wading the water, I'm 5'4 and the water was up to my mid thigh, the ropes and the cliffs didn't bother us. We knew what we were getting into, but we also knew that we had done all of it before. All of us had been caving before, in some farly difficult caves, that had more challenges than Indian Creek. Would deffently recommend going after a heavy rain to catch water flowing through the eye, but be careful the rocks will be slicker, the water higher, and faster. If you make a wrong step it is possible to end up in the Buffalo River. This is only if the creek is flooded. If there hasn't been a heavy rain. then there probably won't be any water coming out of the eye, but it is still a wonderful hike.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a breathtaking hike with beautiful overlooks, waterfalls, and lots of wildflowers. If you have the option, take a vehicle with four wheel drive as the drive down to kyles landing is gravel and quite steep. You’ll start the trek at the edge of kyles landing campground to take the BRT trail. You’ll come to a split, but take a left to go on BRT Steele Creek, then you’ll come to another fork in the road for BRT and ORT and you’ll want to take a left for BRT. Finally, you’ll come to the last fork and you’ll want to go on the primitive trail (should also have a white marker on the sign for Indian Creek trail), which you will stay on for the remainder of the hike. Throughout the rest of the trail there will usually be a dirt trail alongside the rock bed creek and at times the creek itself is easier to stay on and follow as the dirt trail can get very steep and narrow. Once you get to the falls, you have the option to climb up with the help of ropes to get up to the eye of the needle. It is an incredible view and worth the climb, but not for the faint of heart. I’d be careful to go during a time with lots of recent rain as even during dry seasons it can be quite muddy and slick. Overall a great hike with incredibly beautiful views all along the way!

Loved the trail however short it was. Plenty of water at the falls. Would love to see this after a good rain

Easy trail, would love to see this after a big rain. Plenty of water at the falls

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.)

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail! Tough but worth it.

Short trail down to the bluffs and the waterfall. Another trail that is several miles down the dirt road and not heavily trafficked. We didn’t scramble down below the waterfall but we did find the spot mentioned in other reviews.

Beautiful spot away from the crowds with cascades, waterfalls and the creek carving the canyon. It’s a short hike where you can spend a lot of time scrambling on the boulders and exploring around the next bend. The gravel road is in rough shape and 4wd is recommended.

Pretty, yet very short hike. Would be nice to see when there is a lot of water moving. Would not recommend making the trip down the dirt road with anything less than a 4x4.

Beautiful in the fall!

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

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