The Buffalo National River is the first National River in the United States. It is about 150 miles in length and located in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. The trail system is extensive and ranges in difficulty from easy to extremely strenuous due to the changes in elevation.
The Buffalo River Trail (BRT) wends its way alongside the Buffalo National River. The total hike along the BRT is over 150 miles of some rugged and steep terrain. However, the trail has entry points known as trail heads in several locations so that segments of the trail can be hiked by even novice hikers.
Kyles Landing Trailhead
In the Upper District of the Buffalo, the Kyles Landing trailhead leads to Steel creek and Ponca to the west and Pruitt to the east. The BRT trek takes you about 8 miles to the west to reach the nearest National Park Service campground, Steel Creek. Historic home sites are preserved along the trail.
Kyles Landing is a primitive campground. During the rainy season (typically March to June), it is a very busy and popular place for tourists and locals alike. Adequate parking, civilized bathroom facilities with electricity, indoor plumbing, and outlets to recharge battery operated devices are available. Kyles Landing is about three miles from pavement in a secluded area. It is unlikely that you will have a cellular phone signal because the beautiful tall, wall-like bluffs block the reception.
Just up the hill from Kyles Landing, the Boy Scout Camp, Camp Orr, is home to Twin Falls. It is a very easy and quick hike to the twin waterfalls if you drive to Camp Orr and park in the designated parking area. It is a much longer and more strenuous hike if you hike the BRT to the Twin Falls trail that ultimately leads to the waterfall.
The beauty of the waterfall is determined by the amount of rain in the area. If the area upriver receives a hard rain, known locally as a gullywasher, the falls flow more beautifully than ever. In fact, 2013 was a record setter. During an unusually rainy August, Twin Falls doubled to Four Falls. By the time I hiked down to see it for myself, it had reduced to Triple Falls. Locals as well as visitors were treated to an extra canoe season while the river was at flood stage. While river traffic was closed to vendors because the river was too dangerous, many chose to hike along the river to see the waterfalls.