Knox Farm State Park is the former estate of the Knox Family, who are previous owners of the Buffalo Sabres. It’s a beautiful plot of land that includes snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails through woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. The park is just 25 minutes from Buffalo in East Aurora, NY. It’s located between Knox Road, Willardshire Road, and Buffalo Road (rt.78).
Throughout the park, there are a variety of wild animals, including birds, foxes, rabbits, and other wildlife. On the family farm in the park, there are also polo grounds (now used as soccer fields), farms, and horse stalls.
In the winter, the only parking area open will be on Seneca Street/Buffalo Road/Route 16. After parking in the lot, you’ll see the main park office in one of the small houses in the parking area. If you bring your dog, there is a dog park area next to the parking lot to let them roam free. Up to two pets are allowed on the trails unless stated otherwise. Pets must be supervised and kept on a leash at all times on the trails.
Snowshoeing Trails in Knox Farm State Park
Of the seven total miles of trails in Knox Farm State Park, 5.2 of those miles permit snowshoeing. The Outer Loop trail spans the perimeter of the park for a total of 2.7 miles, and 2.5 miles of multiple unnamed trails weave through the wooded areas in the center of the park. In addition to the Outer Loop and unnamed trails, there are a 0.3-mile biking trail, a 0.3-mile creek trail, and a 1.1-mile jogging/biking trail that are gravel and available during the spring/summer months.
Starting on The Outer Loop Trail
After parking, you’ll see the Outer Loop Trail. The trail begins at the edge of the road. It continues around the perimeter of the park for a total of 2.7 miles. Straight from the parking lot, the trail goes through a grassland area and up a small hill. Then it flattens out for a short while before it goes back downhill towards a ditch. After you cross over the ditch, you’ll snowshoe back up another small hill and into the wooded area.
Reaching The Unnamed Trails
Once you’re in the wooded area, you’ll have the option to deviate south, which is the first of several unnamed trails, spanning the wooded area for a total of 2.5 miles. If you continue straight on the Outer Loop, you’ll head through the woods and pass by an enclosed library book stand with a small selection of books. You have the option to sit and read on a nearby bench while you relax in the park.
If you choose to deviate towards the unnamed trail, the trail weaves around in the wooded area until you get to another trail split. To the north, the trail goes back through the wooded area and meets up with the Outer Loop. If you continue southwest, the unnamed trail heads across a grassland area up a small hill. Then it flattens out before going slightly downhill to another wooded area. As the trail weaves through the wooded area, you can continue south towards the grasslands and take one of two unnamed trails back to the southeastern section of the Outer Loop. Or you can choose to go west towards the southern part of the Outer Loop.
If you choose to go west, once you meet back up with the Outer Loop, you’ll go downhill towards a wooden bridge that crosses over a small narrow stream, then back uphill into the wooded area. Once in the wooded area, you can choose to return north to the unnamed trails mentioned above. Or you can continue on the Outer Loop along the perimeter of the woods towards the grasslands.
Finishing The Outer Loop Trail
Once you’re in the grasslands area, you will find a bench where you can take a break. To the north, you will see the house and the original living quarters of the Knox family. Special events take place in the buildings since no one lives there now. If you’d like, you can take the park road up to the living quarters. To the south, you will see a small lake or pond. You can walk around the pond or continue on the Outer Loop, which returns to the parking area.
Snowshoeing Events in Knox State Farm Park
The former Knox Family living quarters and house host many events that are run by the Friends of Knox Farm, New York State Parks, and BoredomMD. Other groups host snowshoeing events at the park throughout the year, including the Buffalo Orienteering Club, Kids Out and About, and Buffalo Audubon Society.
The Niagara Interpretive Group hosts trail, snowshoeing hikes, and nature education in the park throughout the year as well. A few upcoming events hosted by the Niagara Interpretive Group are I Bird NY on Oct 25th and Autumn Tree I.D. Hike on Nov 12th. At these events, you can learn of the various birds and trees in the park.
East Aurora Shops, Food, Drink
The beautiful village of East Aurora, the location of Knox Farm State Park, was the former home of the American President Millard Filmore. There are many shops and restaurants in the village. These include Vidler’s Five and Dime store, Taste Coffee and Tea, Roycroft, Bar Bill Restaurant, Pasquale’s Restaurant, Griffons Resturant, 42 North Brewery, Riley’s Resturant, and Elm Street Bakery, to name a few.
I have run, cross country skied and snowshoed through the park in the past. I grew up in Elma, which is the next town over, and I have made many trips to the park with my father. After a long day of exploring the park, we would usually stop at Taste afterward for a coffee. We’ve also eaten at Bar Bill, Griffons, or Pasquale’s for dinner, and then went to Kone King or Taste for Dessert.
Please check out this area and gem of a park to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Of course, make sure to stop and stay awhile in the village of East Aurora. Grab a bite to eat, shop, or grab a coffee or beer.