Elk viewing conditions have improved steadily now for 3 days, but there is room for more improvement. I expect a herd to return to the Ponca field by the weekend.
This morning there were 3 herds visible in the valley starting from just north of the mill pond and south to around the Buffalo River. The herd at the 43/21 intersection was back at the edge of the field. North of the mill pond, and down by the river at the south end were the best viewing.
The closing of the Buffalo National River park does not affect elk viewing. This morning there were at least 15 cars of elk watchers. If you were planning to combine a hike with your visit, the Whitaker Point (Hawksbill Crag) trail is open, as is the Smith Creek Preserve trail (http://smithcreekpreserve.com).
Predicted much cooler weather should improve the elk viewing by the weekend.