Hiking at Little Buffalo State Park
8 miles of trails
Sturdy footwear is recommended because of rocky footing on some trails.
Little Buffalo Creek Trail
1 mile, easiest hiking, blue blazes
Located at the west end of the park, this trail offers hikers the beauty and sounds of water and good opportunities for viewing wildlife. This trail runs between Main Picnic Area and the west end of the park. During the winter season, Creekside Trail makes a nice cross-country ski trail especially when skiers include the Newport and Sherman’s Valley Railroad trace and the mowed strips in the west end of the park.
1.2 miles, easiest hiking, mowed path
This loop trail has 18 permanent stations where hikers can do many different exercises, including balance beam, pull-ups, hand walks, bar vaults, sit-ups, and many other exercises. It is a good trail on which to see bluebirds.
Blue Ball Trail
0.25 mile, easiest hiking, paved
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. This paved trail is ADA accessible from East Picnic Area and runs near Blue Ball Tavern.
0.5 mile, easiest hiking, green blazes
This trail begins at the campground pond. It drops down an easy grade in a hollow to connect with Middle Ridge Trail.
1 mile, easiest hiking, yellow blazes
This hiking trail wanders through a mature hemlock forest between East Picnic Area and Main Picnic Area. A dense canopy of hemlock trees allows very little sunlight to reach the forest floor making for a relatively cool walk even on the warmest days. The dim light prohibits the growth of most plants, but ferns and small hemlocks manage to grow under the canopy. A vista overlooking the lake and dam is on the east end of the trail near East Picnic Area.
Mill Race Trail
0.5 mile, easiest hiking, orange blazes
This trail can be accessed by Shoaff’s Mill and by the Classroom Annex. The trail follows the Furnace Run and the mill race. The race is the narrow channel that supplies water to power the mill. A wayside exhibit explains how the mill race was dug using a mill race scoop pulled by horses. By Furnace Run, hikers can find pieces of slag, a green colored stone that is a waste product of the iron furnace that was located upstream. This trail is good for seeing wildflowers.
Middle Ridge Trail
2.5 miles, most difficult hiking, red blazes
This trail runs from Exercise Trail to the west end of the park. It offers many short, steep climbs while traveling through a variety of habitats. Open fields feature nice views of the lake. In the mixed hardwood forest, hikers may see large, cone-shaped mounds of earth which may house tens of thousands of Allegheny mound ants. These ants have very strong jaws and can inflict a painful bite on those who disturb their mounds.
Buffalo Ridge Trail
1.5 miles, most difficult hiking, white blazes
This trail runs from East Picnic Area to the Newport and Sherman’s Valley Railroad trace by Main Picnic Area. This difficult trail winds up Buffalo Ridge and offers glimpses of the industrial history of the area. A mixed hardwood forest with scattered hemlock giants covers the area today, but before it was timbered, the ridge was covered in giant oaks, hickories, and American chestnut. Colliers scoured the ridge to make charcoal for the Juniata Iron Works. Look for flat areas of dark ground where wood was stacked, covered with soil and leaves, and burned slowly to make charcoal.
Governed by the American Volksport Association and the International Federation of Popular Sports, Volksmarchers earn awards for hiking. Little Buffalo State Park has a Volksmarcht Year Round Walk. White arrows point out the 10K (6.2 miles) walk on Mill Race, Fisherman’s, Buffalo Ridge, Little Buffalo Creek, Middle Ridge, and Exercise trails, and Little Buffalo State Park Road. For official information contact the park office.