This unique trail is found in Mammoth Cave National Park, self-described as a “grand, gloomy, and peculiar place.” While the cave is considered to be the world’s longest cave system, there’s plenty of beauty to explore above ground too (especially if you’ve got a pup in tow, since critters aren’t allowed in the cave). There are a total of just over 65 miles of trails to explore in the park, including Buffalo Trail, which is a fun little out and back hike with slight elevation change.
What Makes It Great
The trail is a well-kept, wide, gravel path that is rarely used by horses and their humans (a common sight in other parts of the park), especially in the spring and summer. However, if you do end up sharing the trail with a horse, Buffalo Trail is plenty wide to accommodate both, which makes it a better and more hospitable experience than many other shared trails around the country. There’s a surprise little waterfall at the end, too, even though it can dry to a trickle from time to time. Buffalo is a great trail for all skill levels because you’re guaranteed not to encounter anything too strenuous.
Besides the extra seclusion, the trailhead is super close to Turnhole Bend Trail, which will add an extra 1.8 miles each way to your day of hiking. If you really want to go for it, you can link up with Collie Ridge, Mill Branch, Raymer Hollow, and Maple Springs trails to craft a nine mile super hike (or run, whichever you prefer).
Who is Going to Love It
Nature lovers of all kinds will enjoy the trail. Families looking to spend the day in the park before or after exploring the cave will really enjoy Buffalo Trail. It’s a bit long for those will little kiddos, but for families with older kids and teenagers, it’s a perfect family excursion. Also, soloists looking to get away from the crowds that characterize the more heavily trafficked trails and the cave itself will enjoy this nice little jaunt. Since the trails in the park are open to horses, equestrians and their furry friends will love it too.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Just off of Maple Springs Loop, near the visitor center, is where you’ll head out for a tenth of a mile to the trailhead just off of Good Spring Road.