A trail with awesome scenery and history is always a win-win. The Buffalo National River offers several of these types of trails as natural beauty and history play a big role in the park. The Tyler Bend area in the middle district of the park offers several trails for you to explore. The Riverview Trail gives you sweeping views of the Buffalo River, immerses you in the Ozark forest, and allows you to step back in time at the Collier Homestead.
The Riverview Trail is the longest of the Tyler Bend Trails at the Buffalo National River. The trail is 1.5 miles one way or 2.8 miles as a lollipop loop. If you hike it from the Tyler Bend Visitor Center to Collier Homestead, it has an elevation gain of about 300 feet. However, if climbing mountains isn’t what you’re in the mood for, you can hike it reverse, from Collier Homestead to Tyler Bend Visitor Center. This of course only works if you hike it from end-to-end and don’t loop it.
Finding the trailhead
The Riverview Trail leaves from the parking lot at the Tyler Bend Visitor Center. You can find the trailhead to the left of the Visitor Center. A sign will direct you and show you the trails in the area.
Collier Homestead to the Riverview Trail’s Buffalo River overlook option
The Collier Homestead also has parking and is a trailhead. If you just want a short easy hike, you can park here, explore the homestead, and then hike a short way along a fairly flat path along the Riverview Trail to an overlook of the Buffalo River. This segment of the trail is about half of a mile, making it about a 1-mile roundtrip.
Trailhead to overlook
To make the Riverview Trail a lollipop loop, you begin your hike at the trailhead at the visitor center. The trail begins heading away from the visitor center and snakes around a gully. It then follows the base of a hill before snaking around a gully again.
Around mile 0.4, the Riverview Trail comes close to the Buffalo River, but it is through the forest. The trail then begins to head into a narrow valley as you follow a small creek. This is a beautiful valley and really showcases the ruggedness of the Ozark Mountains.
The trail slowly gains elevation, but you don’t really notice it. Around mile 0.7 it curves in a switchback, crossing the creek. You then begin to climb the other side of the valley, and then you really start to feel the elevation gain.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t last too long. Around mile 0.8, the Riverview Trail treats you to amazing views of the Buffalo River. But be careful! You are on the edge of a cliff here and it’s a straight drop to the river. There is no railing or safety measure. A sign below warns you of this is coming up.
From the first overlook, the climb gets really steep and the Riverview Trail parallels the Buffalo River on top the ridge. There are a few more unofficial overlooks, where you can get a peek of the river. Around mile 0.9, you pass the return trail, and this is where the “stick” of the lollipop loop ends.
Overlook to Collier Homestead
Around mile 1.1, you come to a wonderful overlook with nearly endless views. Here the park service has a deck with benches, so you can take a good break after climbing the ridge. At this overlook, you can see where Calf Creek empties into the Buffalo River. Be on the lookout for elk in the fields below.
From the overlook of the Buffalo River, the Riverview Trail is nice, wide, and flat, as it takes you along the ridge. At mile 1.5 you can explore the Collier Homestead. The Collier Homestead is one of a few well-preserved historic buildings in the Buffalo National River.
Solomon “Sod” Collier and his wife Mae along with two of their seven children build the cabin and outbuildings in the 1930s. The family lived on the property until the 1960s. The fence, house, a well, and outbuildings still stand today and visitors can walk around and imagine what life was like. You can pick up a pamphlet at the visitor center or click here for more information on the family and property.
The return trail can be found to the right of the homestead when looking at the front of the house. From here you drop down into the valley a little bit. The trail drops in elevation, but it’s not really noticeable. At mile 1.9 you complete the loop and the trail intersects with itself for the stick portion of the lollipop loop. From here you retrace your steps to the visitor center.
Riverview Trail Buffalo National River
The Riverview Trail at the Buffalo National River is a great short hike that showcases what makes the Buffalo River so special—the scenery and the history.
- 2.8 miles lollipop loop
- Elevation gain and loss 300 feet
- Dogs not allowed
- Camping not allowed