Buffalo River Trail: Maumee to Highway 14

Free downloadable topo maps of the Buffalo River Trail

As part of the long term plan to connect the Ozark Highlands Trail and Buffalo River Trail to the Ozark Trail of Missouri, the Buffalo River Trail has been expanding a section at a time. The most recent addition is the 11 mile section from the South Maumee Road to the Highway 14 bridge where it crosses the Buffalo River. The trail is blazed with white aluminum strips.

If you are interested in the other trail sections, here are some quick links to those pages:

The Maps. There are two FREE maps on this page. Each are true 1:24,000 scale based on the USGS 7.5 minute quadrangles. The Large map covers a larger area than the Ready-to-print map and is provided to help with your trip planning. It shows some of the junctions to the access roads. It is a jpeg file so you can also download it, crop it and print it to suit your needs. The ready-to-print map is formated to print on 11x17 paper. If you are interested in a pre-printed version on weatherproof paper, this is the version you will get. (Although by printing from the source file using a professional quality printer, the pre-printed sheets are crisper. See below for details).

The tracks were taken in 2010 by a team consisting of Ken Smith, Bob Miller (Green Country Outdoor Club) and Rick Davis. The trail is in red and the Buffalo National River is outlined in green. Waypoints are designated with a maroon dot and labeled BR-xx. The mileages shown are between waypoints.

Trip Mileage Table. Click here for trip mileage table.

Track of the Trail. This link is to a Google Earth KML file for track. You should be able to right click the file and save it on your computer. Then open it with Google Earth to see the trail in interactive 3-D. Once in Google Earth you can access track.

GPS File: Right click this link to download the track in a gpx format. Save it to you computer and use your GPS software to load it to your GPS.

The Hike. The hike is divided into the South Maumee to Spring Creek Road section and the Spring Creek Road to Highway 14 section.

South Maumee Rd-Spring Creek Rd: This new section of the Buffalo River Hiking Trail has a variety of features. The path crosses moist north-facing slopes and drier hillsides facing south or west--watch for changes in the size of trees and makeup of the ground cover.

The trail begins at South Maumee Road where the road reaches a bluff overlooking the Buffalo River (BR-01, mile 0.0 ). There is not a trailhead parking lot so just park on the side of the road. The road continues 1.2 miles along the top of a ridge to the river access at Maumee Crossing. The trail enters the woods on the east side of the road.

A mile up the trail from the S. Maumee Road, the trail passes several waterfalls, two of them more than 40 feet high. (The waterfalls have small watersheds, so that they are best seen after heavy rains.) From there the path goes through the woods, eventually passing across an earth-fill dam built about 1960 to create a stock pond. Then more woods, another cliff-top having another waterfall, then an old road trace along the hillside. The old road soon winds down the hill, levels out, crosses the dry creekbed of Bald Knob Branch, and continues onto a long-abandoned farm whose field now has a thick stand of river cane (mile 3.2). The farm site has the remains of an outbuilding and rocks marking the outlines of what was once a house.

From the farmstead the path goes briefly downhill, then along the west bank of Spring Creek to a ford (BR-02, mile 3.3). Across the ford--no bridge, but the creek is usually shallow--the trail zigzags uphill for about 200 feet to a break in a continuous sandstone bluff of the Ordovician St Peter Sandstone. The trail switchbacks to the northwest on a fairly level course along a steep bluff passing through woods and prairie openings. Eventually it climbs to Spring Creek Bluff where you'll find patches of prairie; picturesque, spreading Ashe's junipers ("cedars"), and a spectacular high view of the river (BR-03, mile 4.0).

From Spring Creek Bluff the trail is in the woods, winding in and out of three little valleys, passing a sink hole (mile 4.7) and finally climbing to the Spring Creek Road (BR-04, mile 5.2).

Spring Creek Rd to Highway 14 Bridge: The Spring Creek Trailhead is located on Spring Creek Road. From Harriet AR, go 3.8 miles north and turn left (west) on Spring Creek Road. Go 1.8 miles and look fo the trail sign. There is no turn-out so park on the side of the road. Hike north on the trail to get to the Highway 14 bridge.

This 5.8 mile trail passes over three bluffs offering big views of the river and surrounding hills. Between the bluffs the path descends to stream courses--most often dry, for their watersheds are small. Along the bluffs the trail could rightly be described as a Path in the Sky, for the views down to the river and across its valley give one the feeling of being on top of the world.

Most of the trail is in the woods--better to hike when foliage is gone to see more of this beautiful landscape. But here and there are glades with prairie grasses, and for a mile the trail follows an old roadway once used by timber-cutters. (And up in the woods near this road are the remains of a rock chimney of what must have been a one-room cabin built by some unsuccessful homesteader.) Most of all, the views are worth the hike.

At mile 6.2 (counting from South Maumee) is Sitton Eddy Bluff that provides one of these vistas. Intersect a forest road in another 0.4 miles (BR-05, mile 6.5). Should an emergency arise, following this road to the east will lead you back to Spring Creek Road.

After dropping down a couple hundred feet, the trail contours around a few bluffs and up a couple hollows. In 2.1 miles it crosses Kimble Creek (BR-06, mile 8.6). The next 0.8 miles is 480 foot climb with the first 400 feet in 0.6 miles. Start with some switchbacks up a St Peter Sandstone bluff towards the east. After it cuts back to the west, the trail will stay level until it reaches the Kimball Bluff overlook (mile 9.2). Then it is a gradual 80 foot climb to the top of the bluff where the trail will stay for about a mile.

Then it is downhill. The trail switchbacks through the woods for about 0.8 miles decsending 400 feet to a creek. The trail turns left and follows the creek to the river road (BR-07, mile 10.7). Turn right on the road and follow it 0.3 miles to the Highway 14 Bridge Trailhead and parking lot (BR-08, mile 11).,

Info: USGS 7.5 Minute Quadrangle: Cozahome AR (trail not shown). Contact the Buffalo National River Headquarters, Harrison, AR (870) 741-5443. Buffalo River Handbook by Ken Smith provides an in depth look at the river, trail, geology and history of the area.

Acknowledgements. Any mistakes are mine. Thanks to the following people for their help:

  • Ken Smith provided much of the trail description.
  • Bob Miller of the Green Country Outdoor Club.
  • Rick Davis.

Shuttles and Canoeing.

  • Buffalo Camping and Canoeing, Gilbert AR,. 870-439-2888. Email: riverfun_gilbert@live.com. Located at the Gilbert General Store in Gilbert. Take AR 333 east from US Highway 65. Go 2.9 miles and turn right on Dry Creek Road. Go 0.5 miles and it is on the right.
  • Dirst Canoe Rental and Cabins, 538 Hwy 268 E. Yellville, AR 72687, 800-537-2850 or 870-449-6636 . Take Highway 14 north of the Buffalo River bridge for 1.6 miles to Hwy. 268. Go east on 268 for a half mile and it is on the left.
  • Wild Bill's Outfitter, Yellville, AR, 870-449-6235, Reservation Line : 800-554-8657. Take Highway 14 north of the Buffalo River bridge for 1.6 miles to Hwy. 268. The store is at the intersection.

Directions from Marshall AR to South Maumee Trailhead. From the junction of US 65 and AR 27 in Marshall, take AR 27 north 5.5 miles. Just before Morning Star, turn left on South Maumee Road. Go 5.1 miles to the trailhead.

Directions to the Highway 14 Trailhead. Less than a 0.1 mile south of the Highway 14 bridge over the Buffalo River it an access road going east. Make the turn, follow the road under the bridge and take the loop road to the left. The trail begins at the south end of the loop.

To Buy Map. If you don't want to take advantage of the FREE download, a color weatherproof version (11x17) is available for $5 each plus S&H by emailing cew5151@gmail.com.

 

Large map of area (above)
Ready-to-print map
Photo by Bob Miller

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