Buffalo Park Trail
Buffalo Park might just be one of the prettiest parks in all of Arizona, and Flagstaff residents can stroll its wildflower-lined walkways without needing to leave the city. In fact, this park is accessible from most parts of the city without too much hassle. Buffalo Park sits atop a mesa with a wonderful view of Elden Mountain, and the Buffalo Park Trail is a very easy loop that allows users of all ages and skill levels the chance to appreciate the park.
Buffalo Park is one of Flagstaff’s busiest and most-used parks, and as a result, the trails are very nicely maintained. They’re suitable for wheelchairs and strollers, as well as bikes and dogs. The park is open throughout the year, so stop by whenever you like. We especially enjoy exploring it when the wildflowers are blooming.
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- Map Data: ©OpenStreetMap
- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
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Route Description for Buffalo Park Trail
Buffalo Park is one of many parks that serve the outdoorsy people of Flagstaff, but what makes this one so special? We think it’s the park’s location, perched atop a mesa, that makes it feel just far away enough from the city. With an imposing view of Elden Mountain, it’s a natural oasis that takes only minutes to reach from many neighborhoods in the city.
Buffalo Park is also a gem for its meticulous maintenance. The trails are wide, even, and suitable for strollers, wheelchairs, bikes, and hikers of all ages and skill levels. The ease of use of the trails and the beauty of the park (some claim that it’s one of the most beautiful parks in the state) keep locals coming back time and time again.
The main route through the park is the 3.5 km Buffalo Park Trail, a loop that covers all corners of the park. While the view of Elden Mountain was mentioned, also keep an eye out for Mount Humphreys and the local deer that call the park home.
The loop travels across the mesa to the Ponderosa forests on the north end and back down to the scenic wildflower fields that cover much of the mesa. You’ll find walkers, bikers, photographers, and even stargazers out here (the park is open 24 hours a day).
There are several exercise challenges along the loop if you want to break more of a sweat as you go. These give you the fun (and tiring) option of running the loop and stopping to complete each exercise. If that’s not your style, just stroll at your own pace and enjoy the views.
There are restrooms, water fountains, and picnic tables available for your use.
From the trailhead, walk the rest of N Gemini Drive into the park, crossing through the big entry gate with a buffalo statue standing out front to greet you. Our route goes counterclockwise, but you can enjoy it either way. Take a right onto the Buffalo Park Loop and pass Old Duck Pond. Here, the loop curves west and crosses TR 87F, where you will enjoy some mountain views.
Stay right at the point where another trail branches off to the left, and you will now be hiking northwest to the top corner of the park. Stay left as two trails continue to the right. You’ll now be on your way back to the trailhead, meandering along the even, flat path.
Two routes spur off to the right, so keep left as your trail gently zig-zags its way back to the entrance to the park. If you didn’t stop on the way in, take a moment now to read the signs that tell you a bit more about the park.
Until next time!
Hiking Route Highlights
The main feature of the view from Buffalo Park Trail is Elden Mountain. Standing at 2,835 m of elevation with 372 m of prominence, Elden Mountain was named for John Elden, one of the earliest settlers of the Flagstaff area. He established a homestead near the mountain’s base in the 19th century. The mountain, which is part of the San Francisco volcanic field, is a prominent feature from many parts of the city.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you bike in Buffalo Park?
Yes, you can bike in the park.
What is there to do in Buffalo Park?
Walk, bike, take the dogs out, jog, exercise, stargaze, look for wildlife, enjoy the views, cross-country ski, or just enjoy being outdoors.
Is Buffalo Park always open?
Yes, the park is open 24 hours a day.
Insider Hints for Buffalo Park Trail
- Take care in the winter as the trails could be icy.
- Since this is a busy multi-use park, remember to share the trail!
Getting to the Buffalo Park Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for the Buffalo Park Trail is on N Gemini Drive.
Buffalo Park Trail Elevation Graph
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Buffalo Park Trail Reviews
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