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Fall Break: Buffalo River Canoe Camping

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Date(s) - 10/12/2019 - 10/15/2019
All Day

Buffalo National River


Fall Break: Ocean & Beaches

Dates: 10/12-15 Time: Multiday
Early Registration Deadline: 9/13 Early Bird Cost: $200/$250
Registration Deadline:  10/4 Regular Cost:$250/$300
Location: Buffalo National River, Arkansas


Located in Northwest Arkansas, the Buffalo River is the nation’s first designated National River. You can see why as you paddle this scenic river with verdant banks from spring through late fall. Join us on this canoe camping adventure along the exciting and beautiful Buffalo River. 

Register in-person or online @

Trip Cost:

Early Registration (full payment due at registration):

$200 with a TCU ID, $250 as a sponsored guest

Regular Registration:

$250 with a TCU ID, $300 as a sponsored guest

  • 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



Packing List

Physical Challenge




Outfitting & Food


Pre-Trip Meeting:

10/4 @ 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 1: Meet at TCU around 6:00am and head out toward the Buffalo National River (7.5 hrs.). We will unload the boats and gear and set up camp alongside the Buffalo River. Together we will (hopefully) watch the stars come out as we gather around the campfire roasting S’mores.

Day 2: After a hearty breakfast, we will shuttle boats up river to paddle a 10-mile reach of the nations best river. Through this section, the Buffalo alternates between calm pools and exciting drops. Plan on getting swimming in the refreshing, clear water! Scrumptious lunch and dinner will be provided along the way – including fireside S’mores and (hopefully) more stargazing! We will camp alongside the river in rustic, tent-camping accommodations.

Day 3: After a final hearty breakfast, we will paddle downstream of our campsite another 10 miles through clear waters, steep cliffs, and beautiful wilderness. Scrumptious lunch and dinner will be provided along the way – including fireside S’mores and (hopefully) more stargazing! We will camp alongside the river in rustic, tent-camping accommodations.

Day 4: After a final hearty breakfast, we will paddle downstream of our campsite through the remainder of our route. We will arrive at our take out after lunch, and arrive back at TCU by approximately 8pm.

Physical Challenge

Paddling down the Buffalo River can be tiring and may take the majority of the day. Be prepared to paddle for up to 6 hours per day. Strong winds can increase or decrease the difficulty of this paddle as canoes can be highly influenced by the wind. While participants do not need to be superstars athletes, a decent level of fitness can go a long way.

TRIP RATING 2 out of 3 – This is an intermediate paddle trip.

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
  • 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. 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.


Our wild campsite will be located along the bank of the Buffalo River. There will be no facilities at this campsite, as we will simply be finding a flat area adjacent to the river to set up camp on. Modern bathroom facilities and clean running water will not be available for the duration of this trip. TCU will provide water jugs (for drinking and cooking), 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.