Part of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System, Buffalo Park hosts a 2-mile loop trail through an expansive open space on the flat top of McMillan Mesa, an ancient lava flow. Most of the trail is on open, native grassland, but dips into a wooded ravine just to the west of the park entrance. The trail provides a magnificent panorama to the mountains north of town, including the San Francisco Peaks, the Dry Lake Hills, and Mount Elden. Buffalo Park also offers access to FUTS and Forest Service trails including the Arizona Trail and McMillan Mesa Trail.
What You'll See
As you enter the park, look to your right for a trail offshoot that takes you to a pond, where ducks and other waterfowl can be seen in winter and spring. Mule deer regularly frequent the meadow west of the loop trail. When the breezes blow, you are likely to see ravens performing acrobatic flights. The meadow and mixed forest vegetation means that a broad suite of grassland and forest species visit Buffalo Park. Keep your eyes peeled for lark sparrows, among the most striking of sparrows in the area. Their heads are a rich chestnut color, with white or buff streaking. Some say their painted faces give lark sparrows a clown-like appearance. As they fly away from you, down the trail, you will notice white tail edges similar to those of mourning dove.
From downtown, drive north on San Francisco Street to Forest Avenue. Turn right on Forest, then left onto North Gemini Road until you reach an unpaved parking area at the end of the road.
Dirt parking lot, loop trail system with physical fitness course, covered picnic area, portable toilets, trail access to Forest Service trail network. Native plant garden with species and common name labels.
Large dirt parking area off paved road.
Were there ever buffalo at Buffalo Park? Listen to this AWWE audio guide to find out. Hear more about the park’s history, and learn about other large mammals that used to roam the area. You’ll learn about the chorus of frogs and the seasonal progression of butterflies you are able to see at this site from Larry Stevens (Museum of Northern Arizona).
Narrated by Rose Houk, recorded and produced by Diane Hope with funding from the AZGFD Heritage Fund. Recording of cicada Platypedia putnami courtesy of Kathy Hill and David Marshall (www.insectstingers.com).
City of Flagstaff