Okay, okay, when you think of an exciting winter destination, I understand that Buffalo, New York might not be the first place that comes to mind. With cold winters and lots of snow, most Buffalo residents actually look forward to getting out of the chill with a trip to Florida or the Caribbean. But, if you’re in the area on business or to see family, take some time to enjoy the great outdoors with an activity you can only do in winter: snowshoeing. Or, are you visiting Niagara Falls? Tack on a day or two in Buffalo to round out an awesome long weekend. If you already know that you want to snowshoe, but you didn’t bring own, scroll down to see how to rent snowshoes in Western New York.
We spent about a week in Buffalo in mid-January and enjoyed two full days on snowshoes. Not only was it a fun way to get fresh air and some exercise, it’s a cheap activity, too!
Wondering what to do in Buffalo in winter? Snowshoe at Hunters Creek
Just 30 minutes from Downtown Buffalo or about 40 minutes from the airport, Hunters Creek Park is a beautiful place to spend the day in every season. While the namesake creek is frozen solid during the winter months, it’s a lovely place to snowshoe. You can even snowshoe on top of the creek if the ice is thick enough.
The loop trail takes you from the parking lot to the creek itself, and you can either walk along the creek’s edge or on the ice. The trail loops around through the forest before letting out back at the parking lot. You can walk the 2-mile loop non-stop or take detours on smaller trails. For more info on the trails, check out AllTrails here.
What’s one of my top money-saving travel tips? Get outside! You can learn so much about a place just by wandering around, people watching, and soaking up the scenery. And exploring on your own two feet doesn’t cost a thing!👣 _______________ We’ve been having so much fun exploring the snowy wonderland of #westernNY ☃ on foot (and on snowshoes), which is both a great workout and free of charge! State parks throughout New York have no entrance fee and thousands of trails for walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even horseback riding. _______________ What is your favorite outdoor activity?🌲 . . . . . #wny #buffalosnow #onlyinbflo #newyorkexplored #getoutsideny #scenicny #onlyinnewyork #neverstopexploring #winterwonderland #goneoutdoors #adventureanywhere #seetheworldwithme #lifewelltraveled #sheexplores #stayandwander #adventureisoutthere #girlswhowander #exploremore #offthebeatentrack #freshairandfreedom #naturelovers #incredibledestinations #optoutside #earthunravelled
The creek wasn’t frozen when we were there, so we opted to walk along the edge.
Another great Western NY park: Sprague Brook
Sprague Brook is a little further out of the city, at just under an hour by car. This park is best experienced in the winter, because, in addition to snowshoeing trails, Sprague Brook boasts an immaculately-groomed cross-country ski loop.
Sprague Brook has longer trails than Hunters Creek, with the main loop trail stretching almost 9 miles long. If you’re an expert on snowshoes, go for it, but for a beginner, I would recommend turning back after a mile or two. We trekked almost 5 miles round-trip, after we turned around when we hit the creek. AllTrails has a great guide to the paths in the park here. Shout out to the guy we saw who was running 14 miles in the snow, you’re an inspiration!
The trail is clearly marked, so you’ll have no problem staying on track.
The scenery was absolutely stunning, and we even saw some winter wildlife, like deer. Sprague Brook’s trail runs through dense forest and some more open areas, which gives you a nice variety of landscapes.
I want to snowshoe! Where do I get them?
Snowshoes are a great investment if you live in a snowy place! I used Tubbs brand snowshoes, and L.L. Bean also makes good ones. Look for an aluminum frame (nice and lightweight) and an adjustable binding to get a comfortable fit.
If you’re going to visit Western New York, I recommend saving some $$ on bag fees and just renting snowshoes while you’re there. For the price of one checked bag, you can rent snowshoes for a full 24 hours!
Campus WheelWorks lends snowshoes for $25 a pop for 24 hours. You can also rent cross-country skis there. More info here.