by Doug Sitler

buckhornisland1Buffalo & Erie County offers a bevy of recreation walking and hiking opportunities. This past weekend I brought a few friends to the tranquil trails and wildlife of Buckhorn Island State Park on the northern tip of Grand Island. The trailhead is located an easy 20-minute drive from downtown Buffalo and is only four miles from the world famous Niagara Falls.

Buckhorn Island State Park is a 895 acre nature preserve filled with wildlife, marshes, meadows and woods along the Niagara River. The main hiking trail stretches two miles one way from the parking lot on East River Road to a thin peninsula that situates walkers in the middle of the Niagara River. An old road lies underneath the trail, providing a flat and smooth walking surface for outdoor lovers of all ages and physical abilities. The path is also a popular destination for bicyclist looking for a mellow off-road ride.

During our walk we witness a variety of waterfowl, including numerous species of ducks. On previous visits to Buckhorn Island State Park, I’ve had upclose encounters with herds of deer. One of my favorite locations on the trek is where the trail wanders underneath the northern Grand Island bridges, which present some interesting visual perspectives.

For those who venture all the way to the end of the trail, an incredible and inspiring view awaits. The trail jets out onto a narrow peninsula offering beautiful panoramas of both the Canadian and United States shoreline, as well as unobstructed views of the mist from Niagara Falls which is situated 3.5 miles downriver.

You should set aside about two hours for the four-mile walk. Besides getting in a good walk, you’ll want to take time to stop and soak up the scenery. Click here to learn more about Buckhorn Island State Park.

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