We’ve talked about Olmsted Parks, Japanese gardens, and even safari parks all located within a stone’s throw from Buffalo. But there are several other parks worth checking out in and around the city. Say what you will about living in New York, our parks are the bomb-dot-com. And we’re here to prove it! Here are 11 underrated state parks to visit near Buffalo that you should spend more time in.

Which of these state parks near Buffalo is your favorite to explore? Share the best spots with us in the comments!

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State parks to visit near Buffalo

What is the name of the State Park that they call “The Grand Canyon of the East?”

Great question! That would be Letchworth State Park. Its sheer size, approximately 14,350 acres, and magnificent natural beauty are what earned it the nickname, “The “Grand Canyon of the East.” Here, you will find some of the best waterfall hikes in New York, picturesque rock formations, spectacular gorges, and a wealth of outdoor recreational activities like swimming, rock climbing, bird watching, and other al fresco pursuits. If you live in the Buffalo metropolitan area, it’s only about an hour’s drive to get there. Just take Interstate 190 east to Highway 20A east, then follow it to Highway 36 and take it south until you see the park signs.

Where can I find hiking trails with waterfalls in New York State?

That is one of the ways in which The Empire State shines! Almost everywhere you look across the state you can find stunning hiking trails with waterfalls suitable for a wide variety of physical ability levels. One of the most popular ones (well, they are ALL popular trails) is found inside Taughannock Falls State Park in the town of Trumansburg (about an hour and a half south of Rochester). It’s just a short two-mile hike to get to the falls, but boy are they amazing! The falls cascade down 215 feet where it merges with the cool waters of the Finger Lakes. The sight is one to behold!

I’m looking for a family-friendly waterfall hike near Buffalo.

There are several really good ones right around Niagara Falls, each one offering its own unique scenery around this world-renown location. You might try the Goat Island Scenic Trail.  Because it is paved, it’s the perfect waterfall hike for those pushing a stroller, little ones with those short legs that get tired easily, and for adults who either want an easy journey or have some mobility issues. All in all, it’s beautiful and everyone in the family is sure to enjoy their time here. It’s a wonderfully different way to explore Niagara Falls.