5 Epic Hiking Spots Around Buffalo That Are Completely Out Of This World
Take a hike… literally! Buffalo and the surrounding area is full of great places to get out, be one with nature, and get some steps in. Whether you’re looking for a difficult trail or a leisurely walk, these five hiking spots around our city have just what you’re looking for.
1. Zoar Valley (Cattaraugus, NY 14719)
Zoar Valley features three free hiking trails available year-round and one available from June to August. Holcomb Pond Trail (the only marked trail in the park) is an easy two-mile trot between Holcomb Pond and Ross Pond where you will walk through woods and pass by the gorge. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, try out the Valentine Flats and Point Peter Trail. Just make sure you have plenty of daylight and supplies to get you through your hike! If you're just looking for a good photo op, Forty Road is a half-mile trail that leads to a scenic overlook.
2. Chestnut Ridge Park (6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park, NY 14127)
Although there are many trails at Chestnut Ridge Park, the most notable is the Eternal Flame Trail. Rated at a moderate level, this .56 mile hike one-way is great for everyone - even your four-legged friends as long as they are leashed. While the trail is shorter in length, park rangers do emphasize to prepare by wearing appropriate shoes as the terrain can get slippery along the creek. As with any hike, bring food and water (just in case!), and stay along the marked path. Once you reach the Shale Creek Preserve, you will be glad you made the journey! Methane gas escapes the fissures in the creek bed which ignite the "eternal flame" that gives the trail this name. Be sure to bring your camera to snap a picture!
3. Niagara Gorge (Niagara Falls, NY 14303)
If you’re looking for a park with a large variety of skill levels, hit up one of the eight trails at Niagara Gorge along the Niagara River. The trails along the top are well developed and require little effort. However, the trails along the gorge are steep and require good hiking boots and attention to surroundings. The most popular trail is the 2.5 mile round trip Devil’s Hole Trail. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes as the trail has stairs that can become slippery! Once you reach the bottom of the gorge, you can enjoy the variety of plants, wildlife, and the beauty of the river’s whirlpools.
4. Moss Lake (Sand Hill Road, Houghton, NY 14744)
Moss Lake is about an hour south of the city in the town of Houghton, but it is definitely worth the drive. After taking an old one-lane road back into the nature preserve, you will immediately feel the peace and quiet in this serene park...until you go down to the lake, that is! About 15,000 years ago, a glacier scraped across the area and left a large block of ice in a depression of the land. That ice melted and created what is now Moss Lake. Today, the lake is full of all kinds of species from ducks and herons to deer, turtles, and the most popular – catfish. Throw a piece of stale bread into the lake and a feeding frenzy ensues!
To fully enjoy the park, there are trails around the lake through the woods and even over the bogs via boardwalks. It’s a neat hidden gem in our area that deserves to be checked out!
5. Letchworth State Park (Castile, NY 14427)
Also known as the Grand Canyon of the East, you have to make the trip to see and hike this park! Letchworth is located a little over an hour out of the city, but trust us when we say it's well worth it. Letchworth’s most popular trail is the Gorge Trail, a seven mile trail (round trip) that passes almost every scenic thing you can think of in the park including all falls, the railroad bridge, and Inspiration Point. If you’re looking to experience history while you’re hiking, visit the popular Mary Jemison Trail (2.5 miles round trip). To experience Letchworth in all its glory, plan your hike during the fall when all the leaves are changing colors!
Where do you like to get your hiking boots dirty around Buffalo? Share your favorite destinations with us!
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6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park, NY 14127