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Richland Creek


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General Information

Description - Richland Creek is a classic Ozark stream and many consider it the most beautiful stream in Arkansas. The Richland Creek valley is scenic whether seen by foot, car, canoe, or horseback. Chief attractions are Richland Creek itself and its main tributary Falling Water Creek. Both are characterized by pools, ledges, falls, and the music of moving water. Steep, forested hillsides interrupted by occasional crags and bluffs are common in the upper two-thirds of the valley. In its lower third, Richland flows through a pastoral setting toward its union with the Buffalo River

Canoe services and lodging are not present in the immediate area, and rescue services are also not readily available. Food, gasoline, and other supplies can be purchased in communities such as Pelsor and Dover which are in the general vicinity, though not particularly handy.

Recreation - Richland Creek is seldom floatable due to steep drops, big rocks and narrow chutes, and even when the water is up, the Richland is too fast and furious for all but the experts. For those who insist on floating this creek, the best times to catch it are during the late winter and early spring, particularly following abundant rainfall.

For much of its length, the stream is relatively inaccessible to all but those willing to put on their hiking boots. Because of this remoteness and isolation, quiet hikers may be able to sneak up on all sorts of wildlife mink, beaver, turkey, deer, and perhaps a black bear. To top it off, Richland Creek itself provides some of the best small mouth bass and panfish habitat in this part of the country. Considering the inherent difficulty in floating the creek, the best bet may be to wade-fish the stream. In addition to trying out the pools, anglers will also want to drift a line past good cover in faster water.

One good way to experience Richland Creek is to hike the Ozark Highlands Trail, a 178 mile long path which includes an interesting route through Richland Valley. The trail enters the watershed a couple of miles north of Pelsor at Fairview, a Forest Service campground on Scenic Byway 7.

Climate - Arkansas has a temperate climate with the coldest temperatures near freezing during December, January and February. Daytime highs for these months usually reach 55 degrees F. Spring and fall temperatures are very mild with lows dipping to 44 degrees F and highs reaching 70 degrees F. July and August are the hottest months of the year with average temperatures reaching 90 degrees F. June and September average temperatures usually reach into the mid-eighties. Spring and winter months are the wettest of the year.

Location - Richland Creek is found in the Ozark National Forest of northwestern Arkansas. The creek begins near Pelsor, winds it way through the Ozark National Forest, the Richland Creek Wilderness Area, and then joins the Buffalo River.

Richland Creek is very unique due in part to the fact that it is so difficult to access. For floaters, primary access points are the Forest Service Road 1203 crossing north of Ben Hur, the Richland Creek Campground off Road 1205 and Woolum, at the confluence of Richland and the Buffalo, can serve as a take-out point for floating the lower half of the creek.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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More Information

Contact Information:
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, One Capitol Mall , Little Rock, AR, 72201, Phone: 501-682-7777, Fax: 501-682-2523

Additional Information:
Arkansas Rivers and Streams - Arkansas has numerous rivers and streams located throughout the state. We have information on 13 rivers, four creeks and one bayou.

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