Snapshot virtual tour
Take a snapshot tour of Buffalo River State Park! Visitors of all ages will enjoy park trails that wind through one of Minnesota's finest and largest remnant prairies. We hope the tour prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
River View Trail
A wooden bridge spans the Buffalo River along the River View Trail and provides the perfect place to enjoy a quiet moment. While you pause, keep an eye out for a resident beaver or mink in the river below. As you continue along the trails, you’ll pass into vibrant, green forest that is full of songbirds and busy woodpeckers.
Take a short half mile hike to reach a view point high above the flowing Buffalo River. From the top of the cliff bank, watch for plentiful wildlife near the winding river below. Pack a picnic lunch and soak in the scenery from a nearby bench.
River Cut Bank
Cut banks along the river offer a glimpse into the past of the Buffalo River. Stretching 20 feet above the river, they reveal the sandy soil of past water levels and movement. Take a closer look and you may spot the small holes created by cliff swallows nesting in the sandy soil.
Flood Plain to Prairie Transition
Hiking nearly any trail within the park will lead you through a changing landscape. Trails pass under the dark canopy of floodplain forests along the river and bring you into the open expanse of tall grass prairie.
The ebb and flow of the river is ever changing. Walk the River Trail to see these changes present in cut-banks and the slow formations of ox-bows.
Prairie View Trail
A variety of wildflowers bloom here throughout the spring, summer, and fall, painting the prairie with splashes of yellow and purple. The prairie within the park, and the adjoining Bluestem Prairie Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), is judged to be one of the largest and best of the state's prairie preserves. The landscape contains more than 250 species of wildflowers and grasses including some plants now rare in Minnesota.
The swimming area is currently closed. It is a unique man-made pond lined with soft sand and filled with clean, filtered river water.
Former Manager's House and Nature Center
This building is no longer open to the public, but still serves at a starting point for most naturalist programs and hikes. In the park's early days, this small structure served as both the manager’s house and the park office.
Choose between 44 spacious drive-in sites at the park campground. Electric hook-ups, trailer, tent, and handicap accessible sites are available. All sites are just a short walk away from hiking trails and the popular swimming beach.
A quiet ring of tent-only sites offers a shaded opportunity for you, your friends, and family to gather around the fire and enjoy a peaceful camping experience. The swimming pond, bathroom facilities, and nature center are all within close walking distance.
Set along the river and under large cottonwood trees, the park’s group camp allows ample room for games and cookouts. The grassy, open area of the group camp offers several tent or camper locations to choose from. Campers will also find picnic tables, a fire ring, and nearby trails that connect to the rest of the campground.
Big Sky Trail
Native prairie wetlands, or prairie potholes, dot the prairie during the spring and can even house numerous frog species. The early spring calls of these amphibians complement the soothing rush of tall grasses blowing in the wind.
Top of Ridge
Enjoy a lovely vista of open prairie as you stand on what was once the lake bottom of Glacial Lake Agassiz. Years later, the ridge found here (an old river terrace) was cut into the ancient lake bottom as the meandering Buffalo River changed its course.
Buffalo River State Park lies within the boundaries of Glacial Lake Agassiz, which influenced the creation of the Red River Valley and its tributary, as well as the Buffalo River. Overlooks provide a view of the wide open prairie.