Buffalo River - Murphy Bridge to Topsy Bridge

Buffalo River, Tennessee, US


Murphy Bridge to Topsy Bridge (Upper Buffalo River)

Usual Difficulty I(II) (for normal flows)
Length 25 Miles

Buffalo River

Buffalo River
Photo by Tim Hobbs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03604000 700 - 1200 cfs I(II) 01h05m 2390 cfs (too high)

River Description

The upper Buffalo River is a quiet class I-II. There are several trips available with many alternate putins. Nearly any bridge is used as putins, with several different takeouts along the way. There are also a couple campgrounds available for camping. The best rapids on the river, a short class II, lies about one mile above Topsy Bridge.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2005-05-15 00:22:06


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 15 2013 (1882 days ago)
Ron BurnsDetails
I enioy paddling the Tn Buffalo but the Ar Buffalo is a lot more beautiful .
May 27 2009 (3484 days ago)
x (1)
Response to Derrick... Derrick, the Hwy 13 access is the old Bell Bridge... Grinders creek joins
the buffalo at the Grinders creek access bridge (not sure of road name). The next stretch is from
there to "Texas Bottoms", and then from there to N Riverside is very slow, not so scenic. The
floats from N Riverside on down are the most scenic, but I think developments are messing up a lot
of the old Buffalo beauty I remember...
March 3 2009 (3569 days ago)
x (1)
The pictures of dumb bunnies WITH NO P.F.D. should be deleted!!
September 2 2008 (3751 days ago)
x (1)
A friend and his co-paddler picked up somebody who got seperated from their boat. Cost him about
$250 fine for no 3rd PFD. The TWRA are patrolling many streams in Tenn.
May 12 2008 (3864 days ago)
Where in the world is Bell Bridge? Is it where TN Hwy 13 (Waynesboro Hwy) crosses over the river
perhaps? I could find every other reference point except this one. Also, it appears to me that
Grinders Creek enters the Buffalo River just barely before N. Riverside but you say to try and
avoid this less than a mile long section anyway?
April 29 2008 (3877 days ago)
x (1)
Floated this river last year and was very impressed and cant wait to get back. Very pretty river
and also has some nice riffles and Class 1's. Watch for snakes!
May 13 2007 (4229 days ago)
Barry JoyceDetails
I have canoed the Buffalo probably 60 times over the last 30 years. Always amazing to see other's
opinions. Here is the scoop. No doubt the Buffalo is a beautiful river. I love it indeed. Please
protect it if you go, it has suffered with much camper and floater pollution for a long time,
pollution in the form of cans, trash, etc... Please help keep it clean. I have not floated the
Harpeth, the Duck, other western Middle Tn streams, but best I can tell from crossing them, they
don't compare to the Scenic beauty of the Buffalo. I understand the Buffalo of Ark was named such
because it resembled the Buffalo of Tn so much. Water quality, fair, some sediment, fishing is
really good, I have had only fair success, but not much of a real fisherman, the smallmouth fishing
is rated very good. Float difficulty: This is a class 1 float - from Metal Ford (Natchez trace Pkwy
) to Flatwoods bridge - the most floated portions. Couple of rapids approach class 2 in good water.
But be aware ! stumps, downed trees, logjams, etc abound and in my opinion, bring the difficulty up
to solid class 2, and is borderline for beginners. As a practical matter, the river is full of
beginners flipping, pinning canoes, etc....I'm just telling you that compared to a class II
whitewater river, this is actually harder with all the strainers, etc But worth the float if you
get a chance Quick section summary:.... Metal Ford to Grinders creek - best for mild whitewater,
couple of ez class II - rapids, fun and short float, scenery nice..... Grinders to N Riverside -
watch out for logjam area - floated it twice and had to portage both times, probably 15 yrs between
those floats, this is not one of the better floats, I recommend you avoid this very flat and less
scenic (roadside much of the way) ...... N. Riverside to Bell Bridge- Most scenic float - very long
float - several good shoals, have floated in 1 day many times, but allow for a long day..and hard
for first timers to go this far in 1 day...... Bell to slink shoals - scenic, lots of stumps, etc.
waterside waterfall, nice cave, lots of pools....... Slink Shoals to Flatwoods..-not
recommended....take out at Slink Shoals ! very flat section, floated only once, can't recall

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