Explore the most popular fishing 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.

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

so pretty during sunset

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!

hiking
25 days 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
1 month 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!

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
1 month ago

Great trail! Tough but worth it.

backpacking
1 month 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!

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.

Beautiful in the fall!

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.

Good float for our experienced Boy Scouts (in Spring! )

hiking
2 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
2 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

The hike can be moderate to difficult depending on which path you take. There’s no grand view but worth the hike. We went when the water was low /none. Super easy to lose the trail your on, but follow the creek and you’ll find your way.

Great overlook! Well worth the uphill trek out!

hiking
2 months ago

Best place around the Ponca area I’ve seen so far. Challenging, crazy at times, and worth every bit. Lots of bouldering, scrambling, spidermanning through and over rocks along the creek. The water was pretty low but still enough to make waterfallls and swimming holes. We got up to the eye and it was super slick and wet all along the way. Made it a little more fun and challenging. The rope parts up to the cave and lookout are key and thankful for whoever put them up! We will go back and tool around more after a good rain

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
3 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!!!

hiking
3 months ago

I hiked this trail today and it was incredible! Getting to the Eye of the Needle was a challenge but I took my time and held on to the ropes that help guide you up and down the side of the cliff. Also I’m glad I became Pro on this All Trails App because it guided me along with GPS and got me where I needed to be because the trail is not marked.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this trail on 12/29. What an amazing trail!

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