Nature & Habitat

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Make the Blueway your outdoor playground. Paddling, biking, fishing or hiking, bird watching—there’s something for everyone. Do you admire the heritage architecture and industrial legacy along the Buffalo River? The Blueway is #prettygritty. Appreciate waterfront revitalization and rebirth of the new Buffalo? The Blueway is #GoWithTheFlo. No matter your interests, there’s something for everyone on the Blueway.


Explore the paths of the Blueway along the Shoreline Trail, a continuous multi-use pathway along Lake Erie and the Niagara River. The 8-mile City of Buffalo section of the Shoreline Trail/Empire State Trail starts at Buffalo Harbor State Park on the shore of Lake Erie, where there’s ample free parking, visitor services and a formal “gateway” marking the beginning/end of the Empire State Trail.

From the state park, the route follows the Shoreline Trail north through downtown Buffalo, passing through the harbor area, Canalside and several city parks. Five of the eight miles are a paved off-road path dedicated to walkers and bicyclists only. However, several sections are designated on the shoulders of public roadways. Street parking and visitor services are available in Buffalo at many locations a short distance off the trail. The northern 2.5 miles of this section follow Niagara Street, which is appropriate for experienced bicyclists comfortable riding next to vehicle traffic. Learn more.

The 3.5-mile multi-use Buffalo Industrial Heritage Trail connects Times Beach Nature Preserve, Tifft Nature Preserve and Buffalo Outer Harbor State Park. Learn more.


Western New York is known for its beautiful sunsets over the water. Find a bench or boulder at many of the Blueway sites to sit for a quiet moment and watch the sunset. While you’re there, you’ll likely see various wildlife moving around on land and air, and possibly even a fish jumping out of the river.


Good weather or bad, trying to catch fish or just happy to be near the water—you’ll see anglers somewhere along the Buffalo River on most days. Learn more.


The Buffalo Blueway offers an amazing kayaking and canoeing experience for paddlers of all ages and abilities. We invite residents and visitors to explore this river that meanders its way through an urban but surprisingly natural landscape with astounding sights around every bend. Learn more.


After a full day exploring the Blueway, you might be looking for a bite to eat. There are many outdoor dining options along the Blueway to explore.


The extensive hardening of the Buffalo River shoreline has greatly limited available wildlife habitat. To address this, a diverse group of stakeholders has worked for decades to restore 25% of the Buffalo River shoreline to natural slope, shallows and aquatic native vegetation, including naturalizing areas of the City Ship Canal.

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Army Corps of Engineers, Honeywell and Erie County have implemented 13 projects, exceeding their 25% restoration goal. In total, 21,377 linear feet and 71.5 upland acres have been restored in the Buffalo River corridor, costing approximately $22 million, funded by multiple sources, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The combination of upland and in-water habitat improves water quality and provides fish and wildlife habitat. Historically, land use adjacent to the Buffalo River was largely industrial, which didn’t provide suitable habitat for wildlife. As industries left the area and the land became vacant, vegetation grew and wildlife began to repopulate the area. In 2012, a formal wildlife survey found many wildlife using the river, including some rare or protected species like snowy owls and spiny softshell turtles. A recent Buffalo Ornithological Society study of birds identified over 50 species inhabiting the Buffalo River.