Explore the most popular waterfall 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.

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

hiking
20 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
27 days 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
1 month 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.

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

backpacking
1 month ago

This was a beautiful trail with lots of bluffs/overlooks and a great waterfall at the end. If you're really adventurous (and careful) you can go across the top of the waterfall then climb down. It is a big drop off and pretty dangerous, so be cautious. It's a fairly easy trail, we set up camp overnight and had no issues. A little bit difficult to find the trail head but well worth it!

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

hiking
2 months ago

This is a beautiful hike! Multiple rock formations and waterfalls to explore!

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.

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

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!

hiking
4 months ago

Awesomeness!

hiking
5 months ago

This is spectacular. I broke my arm... it was when we were all the way in to the eye of the needle. An accident can happen in a parking lot  and the hike back out was torture with a broken arm. But my review stays the same—-spectacular. Just use caution because it’s rated HARD for a reason.

camping
5 months ago

We went out and went camping on the trail and had a blast. You definitely are isolated and there's lots of animals down there at night but its incredibly relaxing. The hike can be taxing but if you make sure you watch where you're stepping and take breaks if you need to you'll be fine.

Very hard trail to hike if you’re not in shape. Beautiful scenery throughout. Can be tough to navigate but if you stay on the creek you’ll be fine.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a beautiful hike that only takes a couple hours. A walk through the woods takes you to several large rocks close to the bluff. The view across the hollows is gorgeous. The waterfall was only a trickle since we haven't had much rain. We've done this trail a couple times, spring and fall, and we are never disappointed.

hiking
5 months ago

My favorite buffalo River trail! Gorgeous, once you start climbing it's one beautiful spot after another!

Did Ponca to Kyles Landing on the upper Buffalo, 10.6 miles. Great stretch of water, very scenic, many bluffs, winding river, very remote. Some nice white water, up to a class 3 when we were there, normally up to class 2. This stretch has to be floated in the spring. Your lucky to be able to float this after the first of June. Came back on a second trip and did from Pruit to Hastings, another 7 miles. This route also take you past the tallest waterfall in the state. You can beach the kayaks and hike to the falls from the river.

Awesome trail! We hiked in on the Old river trail about 9.5 miles first day and camped off of the “primitive route”. Found a great camping spot right next to a spring with great water. Hiked back to the horse stables the next day and then onto the BRT! Beautiful scenery and the BRT is a real butt kicker!

hiking
5 months ago

Pretty trail with great views of bluffs at the end. Planning to try it again in the spring when the waterfall is going.

hiking
5 months ago

There are a lot of amazing hikes at the Buffalo National River area but this one is the best. That’s why it gets 5 stars.
This trail is amazing, hard, challenging, can be dangerous but it’s worth it. Expect to climb over rocks, jump over water in the creek and climb 100 feet of rope up an incline to get to the Eye Of The Needle. This is my all time favorite hike.
If you’re in the area, this is a must hike. You won’t regret it.

hiking
5 months ago

My boyfriend and I did this trail a couple weeks ago. The road down into Kyle's Landing is rough; four wheel drive is highly recommended, if not required. Despite intimidating reviews, we found the trail moderate to easy and fairly safe if you extend a sensible amount of caution. There are indeed high ridges, and the rocks along the creek are slippery, but nothing too bad! Plus the ropes near the end are in great shape. The Eye was breathtaking. I can't wait to visit again! It was a truly beautiful hike.

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