Buffalo Park is the nicest municipal Park in Flagstaff because of its wide, well-maintained trails, summer wildflowers, and mountain views. It is part of the urban trail network (FUTS), and the Arizona Trail runs right through it as well. Not only that, there are connections to extensive forest trails adjacent to the park which lead to Mt. Elden and the San Francisco Peaks. Buffalo Park, located right off a main road, is a great place for a quick jog or walk before/after work or class.
What Makes It Great
The main loop is two miles of flat and smooth graveled path. There are a few other trails as well that can make for shorter or longer routes, depending on your preference. Along the main loop is an “Advanced Challenge Course” of bonus physical activities with structures and directions on how to complete them. These include things like sit ups, pushups, leg raises, and rope climbing. If you want a longer and more varied run, simply follow the Arizona trail from the north side of the loop and you will be in the national forest, with endless single track on rugged terrain. For even more variety, check out the 18-hole disc golf course in the adjacent Thorpe Park or the boulder field in the woods behind the water tower.
Another advantage is its proximity to town. It is located right off Forest Avenue, a main thoroughfare, and many Flagstaff neighborhood back up the park boundary. You can get to the park with only a few minutes’ drive from downtown, or access it on foot or bicycle on the urban trail system. As soon as you enter the parks’ clearing atop this modest plateau, you will enjoy panoramic views of Mt. Elden, the San Francisco Peaks, and Flagstaff.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners, joggers, walkers, and cyclists will enjoy the main loop for a basic workout. Those looking for more activity can find it in the challenge course, or the forest trails. The park is perfect for families, as the smooth trails are fine for kids, baby strollers, and even wheelchairs. Leashed dogs are welcome here as well; there are even doggy water fountains near the park entrance. Disc golfers come for the woods course, and rock climbers can get a quick session in the nearby boulder field. Anyone interested in Flagstaff history will appreciate this place as well, as it was originally maintained as a wildlife preserve for buffalo, antelope, and elk.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Get on Forest Avenue and take it to the top of the big hill, then turn on Gemini Road. The large parking lot is at the end of this road. There is no fee for parking or entry. You can also get to Buffalo Park on trails from Hospital Hill neighborhood, or on the urban trail from Sunnyside.
As in all Flagstaff municipal parks, dogs must be on a leash.