Buffalo National River Hiking Trails

From Easy/Moderate hikes to Strenuous overnights. Enjoy a slow, easy nature walk along a wheelchair accessible trail or back-pack into the wilderness.

Koen Interpretive Trail

Easy/Wheelchair Accessible. This lovely short forest walk is wheelchair accessible and has benches scattered along the trail. Trail guides at the trailhead describe over 34 different kinds of trees and plants that can be identified along the walk.

Trail Access: Take Hwy. 7 north from Jasper, approximately three miles, turn left at the Erbie Campground road, then one-half mile down the dirt road, turn right. Two hundred yards down that road, take a left to the trailhead parking area.

Erbie Trails

Easy/Moderate. Located at the old community of Erbie, the Erbie Trails provide easy to moderate hiking and excellent opportunities to visit historic farmsteads, quiet stream valleys, waterfalls, old farm fields, wooded mountainsides and bluff-top vistas. There are several trails on the north side of the river which may be hiked individually or combined into a loop of approximately 7.5. miles.

The Cecil Creek Trail travels upstream along Cecil Creek to another trail intersection near the foundation of an old church. The faint trail to the right, marked with blue blazes, travels for about a mile to a waterfall area knows as Broadhollow Falls.

The trail to the left, known as the Cecil Creek Bench Trail, climbs out of the creek valley and runs along a bench past an old cemetery and a couple of old home sites. These trails provide a wonderful hike of great variety. The trailhead is located adjacent to the old Erbie Church and provides picnic tables and toilets.

The Cherry Grove Cemetery Loop, just across the river on the south side, skirts old fields and wooded bluffs along the river to the historic cemetery. Elk and deer frequent many of these old fields along the river in the early morning and evening hours. This trail begins at the Parker-Hickman Farm, the oldest existing farmstead on the Buffalo River.

Trail Access: The easiest way to access these trails is to travel west off Hwy 7, approximately 5 miles north of Jasper, on the gravel Erbie campground access road. Getting to the trails on the north side of the river requires fording the Buffalo on a low-water concrete crossing. During high water periods, the north side can be accessed from the Dogpatch-Erbie road west of Hwy 7 or the Compton-Erbie road east off Hwy. 43 (Newton County Road 19).

Lost Valley Trail

Easy/Moderate. This 3-mile easy to moderate hike begins at the Lost Valley campground and terminates in a cave 1 ½ miles up the valley. The trail passes a natural bridge, bluff shelter, cliffs, waterfall, spring flowers and a hardwood forest containing American beech. The cave itself is a tight squeeze for approximately 200 feet ending in a large room with a 35-foot waterfall. Clark Creek, like most tributaries to the Buffalo River, tends to dry up or go underground during the late summer and early fall of most years. The first mile to Eden Falls is level and easy going. The trail then climbs steeply to the mouth of the cave. A self-guided trail brochure is available at the trailhead and information station. Three sources of light and a hard hat are required of persons entering the cave. Learn more about the Lost Valley Trail.

Trail Access: Located 22 miles west of Harrison between Boxley and Ponca on Hwy. 74 at the Lost Valley Campground, Buffalo National River.

Alum Cove Trail

Easy /Moderate. This 1.1 mile trail leads to an impressive natural rock bridge, 130 feet long and 12 feet thick. In wet season, waterfalls cascade behind the bridge. Hikers can walk around, over and under the bridge, explore small caves and wade in a quiet creek. The trail offers a unique ecosystem of wild plants and trees identified by markers.

Trail Access: Hwy 7 south from Jasper for 15 miles, turn west on Hwy. 16 toward the town of Deer. At about one mile, turn right on Forest Road #1206, go three miles to a sign, turn right again, and you'll be at the beginning of the trail.

Mill Creek Trail

Easy / Moderate. The trailhead of this 1.3 mile loop begins at the lower end of the Pruitt River Access. The trail follows Mill Creek through forest land and by the remains of former homesteads and a grist mill operated on Mill Creek prior to the Civil War. Follow the trail along the creek until it emerges on the county road. Turn right and cross the low water bridge, then turn right again to continue the trail. Shaddox Cabin pioneer homesite lies ahead. The present house was constructed in the 1930s from logs salvaged from a pre-Civil War cabin. From the cabin, the trail leads back down to Mill Creek. Stepping stones help your ford the creek. In periods of high water, backtrack and cross the creek at the low water bridge.

Trail Access: Hwy. 7 south of Harrison to the Pruitt Access Road on the Buffalo National River.

Indian Rock House Trail at Buffalo Point

Moderate / Strenuous. The Indian Rock House Trail at Buffalo Point winds across hillsides and along a beautiful stream to spectacular Indian Rock House Cave, a sheltered prehistoric bluff-dwelling. The hike to Located 14 miles south of Yellville on Hwy. 14 , then east on Hwy. 268. The trail system is approximately 7 miles and includes the "Indian Rockhouse," river overlooks, and Coon Cave. Maps at the visitor center.

Rush Mountain Trail

Moderate / Strenuous. Located in the old mining town of Rush in the Buffalo National River Park, this Rush Mountain Trail is a loop trail that visits a number of zinc ore mines dating from the 1880's. Many old structures and 'tailing' piles remain from the heyday of the mining era. The trail also travels along a ridge overlooking Rush Creek, Clabber Creek and the Buffalo River. The trail is rough and incomplete. Finished portions are marked by blue diamonds. Maps available at visitor center.

Trail Access: Located in the old mining town of Rush, approximately 5 ½ miles northwest of the Buffalo River ridge on Hwy. 14. A well-marked side road turns north off 14.

Ozark Highlands Trail

Easy / Strenuous. Rated as one of the most scenic trails in the United States, the Ozark Highlands Trail offers miles of spectacular hiking, beginning near Fort Smith and ending near Gilbert. The Ozark Highland Trial is perfect for day hikes, weekend adventures and extended backpacking and is accessible at many forest road and highway crossings. The trail passes through some of the most remote areas of the Ozark National Forest and is noted for its mountainous terrain, scenic views, lush upland hardwood forests, unique rock outcroppings and clear mountain streams.

In the future, the trail will continue east across the White River, up the North Fork River and on to St. Louis. When completed, it will create nearly 700 miles of connecting trail. The trail enters Searcy County in the southwest corner, traveling north along Falling Water and Richland Creeks before leaving the Ozark National Forest, passing through the Buffalo River Wildlife Management Area and connecting with the Buffalo River Trail at Woolum. It then continues down the Buffalo National River to its end.

Once you are past the first - westernmost - six miles of the trail, camping is allowed anywhere outside of the recreation areas; although trail etiquette encourages camping at least 200 feet away from the trail and water sources and preferably out of sight of the trail. If a previous campsite is available, please make camp there in order to lessen expanding impact. White triangular paint blazes are the official trail markers with spur and side trails marked with blue rectangular paint blazes.

Trail Access: Access points are available at Tyler Bend Recreation Area, Richland Creek Recreation Area, and Pelsor on Hwy. 7. Guidebooks and maps are available from outfitters and the Ozark National Forest Service, (870) 968-2354.

Buffalo River Trail

This trail will eventually run the length of Buffalo National River. It now extends from Ponca to Pruitt, and from Woolum to Hwy. 65.

Ponca to Steel Creek

2.3 miles. Begins on the east side of the low water bridge, just south of the intersections of Hwy. 43 and 74 at Ponca. The path first follows a low bluff directly above the river, then ascends to a high mountainside bench before descending past a scenic overlook to Steel Creek Campground and a trailhead.

Ozark Campground to Pruitt

2.6 miles. This trail section passes a spring-fed pond. Wildflowers are abundant in spring.

Tyler Bend

Over 6 miles of trails are located here. Loop trails begin at the visitor center, campground and amphitheater. Highlights include scenic river views and a historic homestead. Trail maps are available at the visitor center off Hwy. 65 at Silver Hill.

Morning Star Loop Trail

.3 miles. Passes the ruins of the Morning Star Mine buildings built in 1886. Begin at the Morning Star Trailhead. Maps available at visitor center.