Floating the Buffalo: Baker Ford to Grinder’s Ferry
Time: 3-4 Hours
Depth: 3.71 feet
With just a few rapids, beautiful scenery, and lots of spots to take a break, this short section of the Buffalo River is perfect for kids and first-time kayakers. The float from Baker Ford to Grinder’s Ferry takes about 3 to 4 hours with a good flow.
Prepare for your vehicle to be dusty, as the Baker Ford access point is a few miles down a dirt road off HWY 65 in St. Joe. Most of the road is well maintained, however there are some good potholes and bumps. Grinder’s Ferry is easy to get to and is directly off HWY 65 by the bridge. If you have 4-wheel drive, you can drive on the bank to get as close to the river as you want. Though the closer you get, the looser the rocks are.
With little rain, the river was low at 3.71 feet. We dragged in a couple spots, but never had to get out of our kayaks to make it across. All the rapids were in shallow water, so there was no fear of flipping this trip. (That might change if the water’s high). While 3.71 feet is plenty of water for a good float, I probably wouldn’t go if it’s much lower.
We took my nephews (4 and 7) on this float for their first kayaking trip and they loved it. They loved stopping to swim and seeing all the wildlife and fish as we floated down the river. We saw lots of other people kayaking and canoeing and plenty of people fishing.
After you get back to your car, stop by Big Springs Trading Company in St. Joe for some good food. I got their BBQ sandwich, and it was delicious.