Buffalo, New York: 5 Day Trips for Snowshoe Beginners

What better way to embrace snow than to strap on a pair of snowshoes and hit the trails? With an average of over 95 inches (241 cm) a year and in a prime location for lake-effect snow, Buffalo, NY, has no shortage of snowshoeing trails to explore.

All within a 45-minute drive of the city (some right near home), these locations are loaded with beginner trails and picture-perfect settings. Thus, they are our top day trips for snowshoe beginners in Buffalo, NY.

snowy rocks and lake in Buffalo NY

With plentiful snowfall each year, Buffalo and the surrounding area offer many snowshoeing opportunities. Photo: Juan Jose Calatayud via Shutterstock

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5. Beaver Meadow Audubon Center

One excellent beginner area for snowshoeing is the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center. Plenty of snow in the winter from the lake effect turns this wildlife preserve into a winter wonderland.

With more than eight miles of trails and most of them being short loops, beginners can enjoy the sport, while intermediate snowshoers can choose the longer loops. So bring a friend or your family (but leave your pup at home) and enjoy a leisurely day trekking the numerous trails.

Moreover, the Buffalo Audubon Society hosts a variety of educational outdoor, and social events, so keep an eye on their public programming throughout the year.

Read More: A New Found Passion: Wildlife Tracking and Identification

4. Erie County Forest

With trails of unparalleled beauty, the Erie County Forest is the perfect place to discover the art of snowshoeing. Bring along snowshoes that fit your needs and start exploring the trails.

The popular Scarbuck Trail is a great place to start, running almost three miles through beautiful dense woods and into open meadows. Warming huts are in place, with fires roaring if you’d like to take a break. Plus, be sure to visit the working maple sugar shack on site.

Read More: Erie County, NY: Dept of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Winter Activities

3. Tifft Nature Preserve

snowshoeing Buffalo NY: snow-covered trail with trees in the background

Explore the five trails at the Nature Preserve, open from dawn to dusk and completely free! Photo: Tifft Nature Preserve

Whether starting out alone, with a friend or taking the whole family, Tifft Nature Preserve is a great spot to begin your snowshoe adventure. Don’t worry about having your own snowshoes. The visitor center rents out wooden ones for adults and plastic ones for the wee ones in your life.

With five trails that are mainly flat with some small hills, this is the perfect place for beginners. The trails are open from dawn until dusk. Keep your eyes peeled for beavers, bat clouds, and other cold-weather creatures. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at the end of the day and explore the exhibits within the visitor center.

Read More: Start ’em Young: Snowshoes for Kids Two to Teens

2. Royalton Ravine Park

A peaceful, tranquil setting is the perfect place to strap on a pair of snowshoes for the first time and explore. All the trails, including the Royalton Falls Trail,  lead down into a valley, across a suspension bridge, and up the other side. Learn how to ascend and descend hills, catch spectacular views of the often frozen waterfalls and explore the picturesque pine forests.

You will need your own snowshoes for this trail, as there are no rentals on site. Take a different route each time without the fear of getting lost and explore the beauty of the Niagara Region.

Read More: 7 Beginner Snowshoes for Varied Terrain

1. Bond Lake County Park

Bond Lake County Park in Ransomville, NY, is the perfect spot for beginners, as the trails here have no elevation. With more than 13 miles of trails for snowshoers and cross-country skiers, you can stay busy exploring this beautiful park all day. With trails winding through apple orchards, woods, and around small lakes, the opportunity for wildlife viewing is excellent.

If you grow weary of trekking through the snow, head to the sledding hill for extra fun. The warming house on site also provides a rest area with restrooms and tables. So plan ahead and pack a picnic to enjoy the day here.

What is your favorite snowshoeing day trip near Buffalo, NY? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

This article was first published on November 24, 2014, and was most recently updated on December 1, 2022. 

Read Next: Snowshoeing Day Trips Near Rochester, NY


  • Lindsay MacNevin

    First a mom… then a writer… then an avid traveler… then an outdoor enthusiast. Graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Lindsay’s love for writing, travel and the outdoors sparked a full-time career as a freelancer. In addition to writing for Snowshoe Magazine and its sister publication, River Sports Magazine, Lindsay is also a correspondent for Concourse Media’s EscapeHere.com. Beyond freelancing, Lindsay partnered with her sister, Jenny, to create 2HipMoms.com—a blog that combines their love for travel, adventure and motherhood.

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