Information on Hailstone Cr. (A.K.A. Big Buffalo Cr.)
Rating: II to III+
Location: Newton Co.; put in at NFR 1463 crossing 1.2 mi N. of
Fallsville on Hwy 21; take out at the Hwy 21 bridge over the
Buffalo R. at Boxley, AR
Topo Quad(s): Fallsville, Boxley
Gradient: 40 fpm
Length: 14 mi.
Gauge: 10 in airspace to 1.5 ft. over the low water bridge over the
Buffalo R. at Ponca AR. Call BOC at 1-800-221-5514 for a
reading. (Rating is a solid III+ at levels over 1 foot over
the Ponca bridge.) You can also predict the levels using
the Buffalo R. river and rain gauges which are linked below.
LINK BUFFALO NATIONAL R. GAUGES (UPDATED HOURLY)
Hazards: strainers, remoteness and length of run
Description: This is the major tributary to the upper Buffalo R. It
is possibly the ultimate Arkansas wilderness run. 14 miles of
nothing but you, the river, and the mountains. The rating
easily goes up several notches in high water. The remoteness
of the creek makes rescue a very difficult proposition, but
mistakes can easily result in damaged equipment or people.
Be sure you have lots of time to make it to the takeout.
It often takes more than six hours to run the 14 miles. One
particularly dangerous spot occurs about halfway down the run.
A class II rapid leads into an undercut cave on the left bank,
and a significant portion of the river disappears into this cave.
There have been some close calls at this spot where boaters
have been swept into the cave and gotten stuck on debris.
At high water this cave could be a killer. Watch for it,
and scout anything you can't see until you get past this
point. Make sure you have solid intermediate whitewater skills
and plenty of experience on other Ozark creeks before
attempting the Hailstone.
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