After what seems like one of the longest winters in the history of Buffalo, the sun is finally out and summer is in full swing. Barbecues are lit for family gatherings, parks are full of kids running around, and trails are ready for walkers, bikers and hikers.
Now, when you think of Buffalo, you think of amazing food, a rambunctious sports culture, and snow, but what you might not know is that Buffalo and the surrounding New York area is filled with gorgeous hiking and biking trails suitable for every level and type of outdoors enthusiast.
This list is far from complete and in no particular order. These are just a small sample of the great hiking and biking trails in our area that you can enjoy with friends and family.
1 - Hunter’s Creek
(Photo by Ellen Denmeade)
Hunter’s Creek Park, also known as Sgt. Mark A. Rademacher Memorial Park, is a 750 acre park located in the Town of Wales, NY. As many as 15 different trails intertwine with one other and offer more than 20 miles of exploration in the park. Hunter’s Creek Park is well maintained, is great for biking and is a favorite spot for hikers. Hunter’s Creek Park has a great 4.7 star rating.
2 - Eternal Flame Falls/Chestnut Ridge Park
(Photo by Rob Martinez)
The Eternal Flame Falls is located in Chestnut Ridge Park and is a go-to hiking location in Western New York. The trek to get to the beautiful 30-foot waterfall where the flame is located is a worthy challenge for all level of hikers.
“It is gorgeous! Beautiful falls and flame. It is not easy. We had to climb under and over limbs through the water and mud. Your shoes will get muddy and wet but it is so worth it! Just stay on the path and enjoy!” said Julie McDonald in a 5 star google review of the Falls.
3 - Niawanda Park
(Photo by Marybeth Blair)
Niawanda Park runs right along the Mighty Niagara. You can ride to this park, or you can ride through it. Or drive (there is plenty of parking) and take a leisurely stroll along the river. You can rent a pavillion or just sit on the grass and take in the view of the river. Don't forget to grab an ice cream cone or a hotdog from the convenient venues across the road and relax with family and friends.
4 - Tifft Nature Preserve
(Photo by Evan Yokum)
Tifft Nature Preserve is a 264-acre nature preserve with 5 miles of trails located off Fuhrmann Boulevard in Buffalo. Tifft is known for its abundance of wildlife and bird watching opportunities. Despite it's proximity to Route 5 and the base of the Skway, it offers a true retreat into nature just minutes from downtown Buffalo. Winding trails lead from the welcome lodge and parking lot into thickets, and bird blinds overlook wetlands and serene ponds. As you explore the gentle hills that grace this urban oasis, contemplate its fascinating history and know what lies under your feet.
Once part of a huge dairy farm owned by George Washington Tifft, it later became a transshipment center for coal and iron ore. During the 1950s and 1960s, it was a dump. Yes, a real garbage dump. But citizens recognized the ecological importance of the site and convinced the city to seal it up. It opened as a nature preserve in 1976. You have to walk the trails to fully appreciate the gift that those enviromentalists gave us decades ago.
Tifft also has many different types of classes and camps for all ages. With a 4.8 star eating, Tifft Nature Preserve is a great place to hike and explore with friends and family.
5 - Whirlpool State Park/Devil’s Hole State Park
(Photo by Max Wagner)
This hiking trail is a favorite of mine. Whirlpool State Park and its neighbor, Devil’s Hole, are great, streamlined trails down into the gorge where you can enjoy gorgeous views of the river either from the top or face-to-face at the bottom of the trail. Start by heading down (many!) stairs to get to the dirt trail which takes you ever closer to the swirling, roiling waters of the Lower Niagara. Walk all the way to the Devil’s Hole and you might see some brave souls who have opted to take the rafting tour on the raging rapids.
At one mile from the trailhead, intead of continuing the trek down, you will have the option of hiking along the rim of the gorge. This trail will take you to Whirlpool State Park where, in addition to great views of the Whirlpool, there are also bathrooms and picnic tables. The trail then continues along the gorge to Niagara Falls State Park where you will encounter stunning views of Bridal Veil Falls, and on to Terrapin Point, with its beautiful views of Horseshoe Falls.
These are just five of the amazing hiking and biking trails that Buffalo has to offer this summer. If you have any suggestions, let us know your favorites in the comments below. Happy hiking and biking!