This loop hike is the best way to link together a handful of trails at Little Buffalo for a complete experience of this state park. Of course, shorter hikes can be done on either end of the lake or out-and-backs using either of the two main trails; Buffalo Ridge Trail
and Middle Ridge Trail
Look for signage at the beginning of most trails and keep an eye on the Hiking Project mobile app
at any confusing intersections, though following the trail that's most worn is usually a good way to stay on track.
Sections can be muddy. Trails closed to bikes.
This loop heads clockwise from the Park Office parking area near the Exercise Trail
and Blue Ball Trail
, keeping the lake on the right. To begin, follow signage for the paved Blue Ball Trail
across the Boat Launch Road. This heads toward the covered bridge and Mill Race Trail
. After the covered bridge, stay to the right toward the Buffalo Ridge Trail
, though the Mill Race Trail
is a loop, in case you go left, it'll still meet up with the Buffalo Ridge Trail
The Buffalo Ridge Trail
provides the main hill climb on the south side of the lake but with fewer intersections to worry about so you can enjoy the trail ahead of you. Around the 1.2-mile mark, a spur trail heads to the right past a water tank toward the southwest parking area of the park. There are bathrooms located here and you can head to the western end of the parking lot to rejoin this hike.
Just before the two-mile mark, look for the Newport & Shermans Valley R.R. Trace
heading left (west). Follow this briefly before heading right (north) onto the Little Buffalo Creek Trail
, which winds along the creek before coming to the Little Buffalo Road. Take the first opportunity to turn right (north) along the road in order to link up with the Middle Ridge Trail
a little to the north of the creek on the left.
Like the Buffalo Ridge Trail
for the southern side of the park, the Middle Ridge Trail
is the main trail for the northern side of the lake with a few creek crossings and one spur trail that heads left (north) to the campground. The Middle Ridge Trail
rises and falls through the woods with a couple more open vistas on the western end.
Eventually, the Middle Ridge Trail
crosses the Little Buffalo Road at the eastern end where this hike continues along the Exercise Trail
back to the Blue Ball Trail
and the Park Office parking.