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

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.)

Great on the way there, tough on the way back up. The trail isn’t well marked but it’s pretty well trafficked you can figure it out.

Beautiful, well maintained trail. Lots of moss and the falls were beautiful

22 hours ago

Recent prescribed burns by the forestry service have impacted the section outside the state park, in the ozark national forest. However, it is still a gorgeous trek with a well defined trail. It is not for the faint of heart. The trails are covered with rocks that are sometimes slick, but the views outweigh the difficulty. It has well established, primitive camps with ample water sources. I did the trek in two half days going clockwise on the trail. It is a great weekend getaway that I definitely plan on doing again.

Great trail! Tough but worth it.

Good trail. Goes along Arkansas river and through the woods. Pretty and moderately traveled

great trail

1 day ago

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

1 day ago

Very nice walk. Beautiful scenery.

2 days ago

Well maintained trail, easy hike with short steep sections near the end at the caves.

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!

2 days ago

Great trail, but a few challenging places for younger kids.

Doesn’t exist

3 days ago

Excellent trail for Arkansas. Not for beginners. We clocked in a little over 31 miles over 3 days at a leisurely pace. I would recommend travelling clockwise on the loop however. The south sides of the ridges were far more forgiving that the steed, straight north side trails. All in all a great hike.

Perfect trail for beautiful views of Pinnacle Mountain. I highly recommend taking this trail all the way to the east quarry trail.

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.

beautiful hike!! not terribly difficult but I wouldn't take it if I was shaky.

Great trail!! The hike isn't too tough unless you're out of shape like me.

Great trail. Lots of areas to explore below the main trail once you get near the pedestal rocks including caves and natural springs. Will definitely be coming back

5 days ago

Awesome trail in every aspect. Water level at little Missouri was 3.8 feet and all crossings were manageable, took boots off once really by choice rather than need. Athens-Big fork section...just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Water everywhere! Heavy traffic but everyone was just neat hiker folk. 10/10, would recommend.
Partner and I were not in hiking shape what so ever, we cut the trail at forest road 106, this worked perfect for us as we only had three days to hike. Ran into many other hikers doing the same. Heard that 5th (or 2nd, depending your direction around) is brutal. Cant wait to get up it next time!

Hard. Did it with a 25lb pack, don’t do that.

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.

Nice hike along King’s River. Waterfalls ♥️

Nice trail, well maintained, well marked with white blazes and fairly gentle grades for this area. Very enjoyable day hike. Bring water and a lunch and make a great day of it!

I loved this trail. As you begin your hike don't let the dry creek bed concern you. Most of the year the creek flows underground. It remains dry until just before you reach the natural bridge. You can walk beside the creek under it. Be careful of slippery rocks. There are two small caves just above the natural bridge. They are fun to explore but are not the one with the waterfall. The trail gets steeper as you hike to Eden Falls. There is a nice overhang to explore there. The trail continues very steeply up to the cave. At one point you must crawl before it opens to a room with the waterfall. There were plenty of children and elderly people who went back successfully, but it gets so low before it opens up the you start to believe you can't go any further. Once you get to the back it is well worth the bumped knees and head. I recommend a strong flashlight the will illuminate the room well. It is always recommend to have at least three sources of light. I was in a cave once and accidentally broke two lights. I always carry plenty now. Have fun!

5 days ago

Great afternoon hike for the family.

We have hiked this trail many times and love it! Some of the terrain can be ruff depending on what loops you take. That being said I was able to hike with our 1 year old in a carrier on my back so I would say that it’s a fairly easy trail. We did take our dog and he got covered in ticks so make sure you spray down. It’s a beautiful and peaceful hike to spend a few hours on. We have seen deer, squirrels, and armadillo.

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.

6 days ago

Quick and relatively easy

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