Buffalo, Arkansas, US
1) NFR 1463 to Highway 21 at Boxley (13.6 miles) (Hailstone)
||II-III+ (for normal flows)
HailstonePhoto of Laramy Ridley taken 06/01/13
This is a long, remote, breathtaking run. The majority of the run is inside protected wilderness
land. Most of the gorge is in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area of the Ozark National Forest with
the lower portion of the run located in the Buffalo National River Park.
The first 12 miles are in a remote gorge with the last 1.6 miles ending in the Boxley Valley. The
only sign of development in the gorge is high on the left bluff at Whitaker Creek (Mile 8.6). The
home of Tim Ernst, wilderness photographer, is located here (though his website mentions he is
looking to sell and move as of January, 2017). His journal and photographs can be seen at
timernst.com, and he also has a Facebook Page,
Tim Ernst Photography of Arkansas and other wild places.
The first couple miles of the run consist of mainly shallow Class II bedrock shoals and small
ledges, offering countless surf waves as the walls of the gorge begin to grow. Be careful of the
numerous areas where this bedrock is undercut along the banks.
The action picks up when boulders begin to appear in the stream creating several class III to
III+ rapids for the next couple miles. After several of these boulder drops, look for one of
particular note. It consists of a diagonal ledge angling downstream to the right. Below the ledge
the creek turns right, but the main flow continues left into a large undercut bluff. At lower
water levels, the hazard is minimal. At higher flows, the hole below the ledge and flow into the
undercut are more difficult and intimidating.
The difficulty subsides a little for short time below this rapid, but regains intensity below
Whitaker Creek. Large boulders again populate the streambed and create several rapids with slots,
holes and some undercuts.
Although this river is pool drop in nature, the pools are generally small with good current in
the gorge. The last couple miles of the run contain some larger pools as the creek enters the
Boxley Valley, beware of the willows in this section.
Put-in: Located on NFR 1463 off of Hwy 21 near Fallsville. From Fallsville (intersection
of Hwy 21 and Hwy 16 East) travel North on Hwy 21 for 1.4 miles and turn Left (West) onto NFR
1463 (Newton County 14). This will be the second dirt road to the left as you travel North from
Fallsville. Follow this road 3.1 miles to the river. The road is well maintained for the first
2.1 miles to the 'Wilderness Access' sign. Do not follow the arrow to the Wilderness
Access (Right). Continue to the left and the road will begin a steep descent to the river. High
ground clearance or 4-WD may be needed here, especially after heavy rains.
Take-out: Hwy 21 bridge at Boxley. From the put-in travel North on Hwy 21.
HAZARDS: strainers, remoteness, some undercuts and length of run.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-01-24 14:45:58