The Buffalo National River
An Ozark Treasure
Drawing an estimated 1.5 million visitors per year and counting, this parcel of paradise is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Come learn about the history along its banks and experience what keeps the locals here and the visitors coming back year after year.
Nearby Access Points
While there are at least 7 access points all within 30 minutes of our location, I chose to highlight those you would most likely want to day visit. There are several others along the way that are mostly popular as floater take out points, and either smaller and crowded or just crowded in general which doesn't make for the best day trip experience. If you plan on floating, you will most likely take out at one of these lesser known points.
Best suited for fishing, swimming, floating, seclusion
South Maumee just feels like home. This is the section of river we know by heart and that holds many special memories for us. It's layout has changed over the years, yet it still remains one of the most secluded stretches we know of. There are a handful of primitive campsites at this point, and gravel bar camping is no longer allowed. It is a popular put in point for floating and has one of the longest stretches of vehicle accessible gravel bar on the Buffalo.
Ideal for swimming, hiking, fishing, RV camping, floating
Buffalo Point is, quite frankly, its own little town. The only access point on park land to offer water and electrical RV hookups, it's no wonder this access is in a league of its own. Most campsites stay booked up to a year in advance, and then there's always the lucky few who get a walk in space. That's where we come in. You can still enjoy all that Buffalo Point has to offer and not fight the crowd. It's picturesque bluff makes for an unforgettable swimming experience, and if you walk just around the bend when the water is low, you'll find the neatest little cave shelter to explore. This access is also home to the Indian Rockhouse and Scenic Overlook Trails, both of which we highly recommend, especially after good rains. Visitor Center on site.
Ideal for swimming, floating, hiking, historical information
Everyone needs to go to Tyler Bend at least once. A short 25 minute drive to the North takes you to another well established access point on the Buffalo. A popular put in for floating and swimming Tyler Bend also sports several day picnicking spots. Every now and then you can catch a fun festival or event held at the grounds here. Another must see at this access is the Collier Homestead trail which takes you on an easy stroll to a turn of the century homestead that has withstood the test of time and change. There is also a great view of the river if you take the trail on through the woods a little farther. Visitor Center on site.
Buffalo National River Hiking Trails & Historical Places
Indian Rockhouse Trail
Location: Buffalo Point River Access- 25-30 minute drive
Escape the fast pace and day to day on this steep descent that takes you to another world. You'll experience several different landscape changes, a beautiful waterfall (except in dry weather), a peaceful stroll along a creek and some of the most unique natural creations/formations you've ever laid eyes on. We won't spoil them for you. Just trust us, and go. Be warned though-This trail is not for the faint of heart. The climb out is a doozie, but worth every catch your breath break. 3-5 hour hike.
Rush Historic District
Location: Rush Access Point 30-35 minute drive
Topping the list of historical places one must see, the Ghost Town of Rush is a history lovers dream. Once a booming zinc mining town, all that remains are bits and pieces of life gone by. This gently sloping loop trail takes you on a walk through the remains of this once hopping place. Plaques with photos help one visualize what once stood at the marked sites and reinforce the sense of awe and reverence for how quickly times can change. Be sure to drive the full stretch of road as there are some structures not on the loop that are worth stopping to see. Loop trail approximately 1 hour hike.
Location: Lost Valley Trailhead, Boxley Valley- Approximately 1.5 hour drive
While it seems a little out of the way, I could never not list Lost Valley as it is worth the scenic drive. Developed and handicap accessible for the first stretch of the trail, Lost Valley is one of my old time favorites. It's a moderate hike in and out if you explore it the way we do, and leads you to one of the best grand finales I've seen yet. Best viewed after ample rainfall. There is also a cave at the very tip top of the falls at the end, but it is suggested that one uses caution with exploring. Approximately 3 hour round trip.