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Buffalo River Fall Break

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Date(s) - 10/05/2023 - 10/08/2023
All Day


Buffalo River Backpacking & Paddling

Dates: 10/5-10/8 Time: Multiday
Early Bird Deadline: 9/15 EB Cost: $180
Sign Up Deadline: 9/27 Cost: $200
Pre-Trip Meeting:  9/27 @ 6pm Location: Buffalo National River, AR

Trip Description:

Spend your Fall Break with the TCU Adventure Trip Program! We will spend the long weekend in our neighboring state of Arkansas on the Buffalo, America’s first national river. We will spend two nights camping and backpacking on the iconic Buffalo River Trail and our final day will be spent paddling on the river itself. Fall is the perfect time to explore the gorgeous state of Arkansas. 

Trip Cost:

Early Registration: $180 with a TCU ID

Regular Registration: $200 with a TCU ID, 

  • Prices reflect the TCU student/faculty and sponsored guest rate.
  • Please read our cancellation/refund policy carefully before registering.
  • Price does not include meals on the road

Trip Registration:

Register in-person or online @



Packing List

Physical Challenge




Outfitting & Food


Pre-Trip Meeting:

9/27 @ 6pm

Pre-Trip meetings are required and are held the date of the registration deadline (listed above – generally the week of or week before the trip), from 6-7:30 pm at the TCU Climbing Wall.  You will meet the leaders and other trip members, as well as cover all details such as weather, menu, safety issues, and clothing requirements. You will also be issued all of your equipment at this time (sleeping bags, pad, tent, etc.).


Day 0: Meet at TCU Outdoor Center at 8pm to pack bags, distribute group gear and load the vehicles with equipment. This will allow us to leave bright an early on Thursday morning.

Day 1: Depart TCU at 6am, settle in for the 6 hour van ride, and head north to Arkansas. When we arrive we will hike to our campsite, cook dinner and camp under the stars. 

Day 2: After a hearty breakfast, we will spend the day paddling along the Buffalo River.

Day 3: We will wake up and depart for a day full of hiking. .

Day 4: On our last day we will have a delicious breakfast, break down camp and make the drive back to TCU. Arrive back at TCU at 5pm.

Physical Challenge

Backpacking and paddling in the Buffalo can be strenuous on both your legs and back. It may also prove challenging to spend multiple days on trail in a row and hiking about 10 miles a day. Staying well hydrated, taking your time, resting when necessary (but not for too long), and keeping your energy level high is essential. Trip members should be in good physical condition and should plan on challenging themselves on this trip.

TRIP RATING 2 out of 3 – This is an advanced backpacking due to the duration, distance and terrain.  

Packing List

We are limited on space, and the less stuff you bring, the less you have to carry around. Ask yourself…What would I want in the coldest weather or the hottest weather? Pack to be prepared for both!

Things that should be packed inside your personal day pack and kept with you inside the van:

  • Small day pack
  • Money for road meals
  • A warm layer
  • Headlamp
  • Travel size pillow
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Camera


  • Sunglasses w/retainer strap
  • Personal stuff- extra contact lenses, chapstick, sunscreen, baby wipes, baby powder, ear plugs, hand lotion, medications you usually take…
  • 2 durable crush proof one-liter water bottles or a hydration pack
  • Eating utensils
  • Plastic bowl
  • Mug/insulated cup
  • Hand sanitizer


  • Wide brimmed shade hat
  • Beanie/ stocking cap
  • Bandana
  • Gloves
  • Tennis shoes with good ankle support
  • Secure water shoes you can wear when canoeing
  • Hiking Socks
  • Hiking Shoes/ Boots
  • Cotton or synthetic blend hiking shirt (breathable layer)
  • Cotton or synthetic camp shirt (a clean shirt to wear at camp)
  • Synthetic Long Sleeve Top(s) – Polypro, Capilene, or polyester.
  • Fleece jacket or sweatshirt
  • Sports bra
  • Windbreaker
  • Nylon shorts
  • Lightweight long pants/ cotton or synthetic hiking pants
  • Rain Pants
  • Sweatpants
  • Underwear
  • Synthetic long underwear (top & bottom)
  • Bathing suit
  • 15-30˚ sleeping bag and Thermarest sleeping pad
  • Tent with rain fly (sleeps 2-4)
  • Headlamp
  • Camp chair
  • Pack Bag: to hold all of the above items PLUS your personal gear and clothes
  • Expedition First Aid Kit
  • Ground Tarp
  • Stoves, fuel and all cooking gear-pots, pans, spice kit etc.
  • Repair kit for tents, stoves, packs, etc.
  • Water bags -2+ gallon bags for camp use
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert


There are numerous risks and hazards associated with the Buffalo River . The treacherous and hilly terrain will require extra caution when hiking. Not dressing appropriately can result in heat or cold illnesses (Hyperthermia or Hypothermia). Not drinking enough water results in dehydration and not being in adequate physical condition can result in sore muscles. Trip members must make a conscious effort to be safe. One person’s disdain for safety will always result in more hardship for the group. If we do have an accident or injury that requires medical attention beyond the scope of our leader’s experience, the trip is immediately over without refund. Our leaders are trained to administer first aid in an outdoor environment; however, while they may be able to treat injuries they cannot always prevent them.


We will be backpacking, therefore, our campsite will be located in the backcountry of Ouachita National Forest. This means there will be limited access to showers and bathrooms. There will be designated tent sites and natural water sources nearby. TCU will provide tents, warm synthetic sleeping bags, and foam sleeping pads. You will have the choice to share a tent with two or three trip members or sleep under the stars. The sleeping area provides us with durable hard packed dirt.


The trip leaders will research the weather conditions in advance to assess the situation. The trip will be canceled if the weather is dangerous. If you do not receive an email about this, then please be prepared to be out in the weather. Please follow the weather and use your best judgment as well as the packing list to determine what you will personally need to stay warm and dry during the entirety of this trip. Layers are recommended for cold weather and failure to bring proper attire will be detrimental to your experience.