We visited this park on our way from Hot Springs to Jasper in February. I attempted to have Bob drive up the scenic Arkansas route 7 to Jasper (which was reputed to have green water in the river), but he got very impatient with the turns and ups and downs, so after we ate lunch, we crossed to US 65.
One thing we could do even in the winter was go to the visitor's center and have our National Park Passport stamped. This visitor's center is open year round 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
As usual the NPS Visitor's Center are worth a visit. They had the usual film about the park (photo 5), a display showing local animals, a simulated stream, and warnings about dangers in the area.
Buffalo National River not only preserves the river itself, but also several areas of historical and cultural interest. One of the most notable of these is the Collier Homestead.
The Solomon (Sod) Collier family left Kentucky on a cold February day, 1928, and headed west for Arkansas. With Sod was his wife, Ida Mae, and four of their seven children in a pickup truck. The children who didn't fit into the cab of the truck huddled together in the bed, covered by a tarp. When they arrived at their new homestead, after a week on the road, Sod had only 15 cents in his pocket. He also had a determined spirit and a bright dream for the future.
The Colliers were among the many 20th century settlers who came to this area to claim some of the last remnents of land made available by the Homestead Act of 1862. By the time the Colliers arrived only pockets of less desirable land were available since the more fertile acreage in the river bottom had already been taken. The Collier Homestead is 40 acres of relatively level land on a high bluff, overlooking the river.
To become the rightful owners of this property the Collier family built a log house, barns a storage shed and a smokehouse. They raised hogs and cattle for meat and cultivated corn, oats, cane, apples, peaches and garden vegetables. They had no electricity or indoor plumbing until 1961.
The National Park Service purchased the Collier Homestead in 1978 and has restored it to provde a glimpse into Arkansas' not-too-distant pioneer past.
A short trail behind the Collier Homestead leads to outstanding views of the river.
The primary Visitor Center of the Buffalo National River is near the center of the park at Tyler Bend. There are also ranger stations closer to each end of the river at Pruitt (west) and Buffalo Point (east). These are located at points where a highway crosses the River.
Tyler Bend is an excellent place to begin your exploration of the Buffalo, and a great choice for those who only have time to visit one point along the river. At the Visitor Center you will find a friendly staff, an information desk, and a small but very nice museum which showcases the natural history and pioneer human history of life along the river. An orientation film is available, as well as a gift shop and restrooms.
Tyler Bend Visitor Center open all year.
Memorial Day to Labor Day, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Rest of the year 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
This beautiful point on the Buffalo River, near the highway crossing of U.S. 65, is perhaps the most visited point on the river. It is readily accessible, and also very beautiful, framed with towering limestone bluffs.
At Tyler Bend you will find several amenities including parking, a picnic area, restrooms and trailheads. There is also an excellent spot for taking canoes or rafts into or out of the river, and a shallow area with smooth stones and pebbles forming the river bottom. This can be a great place for getting wet and cooling down on a hot summer day.
Beaver Jim Villines Boyhood Home. An old homestead in the river valley. You can wander through the old home and the barn. Both a loose terms by today's standards. Small as they were, the Buffalo River people spent most of their time outside. The house was built in 1850 and Jim was born here in 1854.
In the upper river valley, Priutt Landing has two access points. The Landing provide access to the river for canoes and fishing. The Priutt Ranger Station up river and on the southside, includes picnic grounds, restrooms, and a Ranger station.
Access to the river and access to the Elk grazing fields. We didn't see any elk, but there is a field next to the bridge site, where crowds gather all summer long at sunset to watch the elk.