If you have been following the Best of the Midwest series then you might remember my post about the Buffalo National River in Northern Arkansas. Two of the best ways to explore the Buffalo National River and the surrounding Ozarks is by floating the river or by hiking the Buffalo River Trail (BRT). The Buffalo River Trail is said to be some of the finest backpacking in mid-America due to the abundance of spectacular scenery and the opportunity to encounter wildlife along the trails.
The BRT is 36.5 miles long and runs from Boxley to Pruitt (find out all about the trail and the distances here). My dad and I decided to hike 21 miles of the trail in two days and saw some of the most beautiful views of the Ozarks. Not only was the scenery breathtaking, but the amount of wildlife we encountered along the trail was crazy! We passed a pack of wild hogs, deer, wild turkey, tons of squirrels, and (brace yourselves) a huge rattlesnake (don’t worry! Leave them alone and they will leave you alone too). Even though, some wildlife are more friendly than others, the Ozarks give ample opportunities to encounter and watch for so many different animals.
My dad and I hiked the stretch of trail from Kyle’s Landing to Boxley (21 miles). This section of the trail was pretty strenuous, there are a lot of elevation changes and walking on rocks so make sure you have a good pair of hiking boots. There aren’t many flat stretches, I felt like we were always going either up or down. At the end of the first day, we got to Steel Creek (7.6 miles from Kyle’s Landing) and decided to keep going a bit further before stopping to set up camp. Not long after leaving Steel Creek, we started to climb a never-ending hill. I swear we went straight uphill at probably a 45 degree angle for what felt like miles. I really thought I wasn’t going to make it up that hill, but after singing “If You’re Going Through Hell” by Rodney Atkins to myself a dozen times we finally made it up the hill and found a spot to camp.
The Buffalo River Trail winds through the forest and runs parallel to the Buffalo River at some points and extends high to the top of the bluffs that tower around the Buffalo River at other points. The trail offers some incredible views of the Buffalo River and the surrounding Ozarks and is a great way to get in tune with nature. Sometimes it’s just nice to unplug from the world, strap the bare necessities to your back and head off into the forest.
From river crossings to trekking across the tops of bluffs to wildlife sightings, the Buffalo River Trail has it all. The BRT is the perfect, challenging hiking trail right in the heart of the Midwest for those that are seeking beautiful scenery and an escape into the wilderness.