Buffalo Mountain Park

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Buffalo Mountain Park, created in 1994, is 725 acres located on the north slope of Buffalo Mountain, thus the trails are steep and forested. Bring binoculars as the views of Johnson City and the region are the drawing card for this park.

Click on the trail line to reveal its name, while the pins are for the main destinations.

Contents

How to get there

From Johnson City, TN

  1. From just past the intersection of Cherokee Road (TN 67) and University Parkway (US 321) on Cherokee Road, turn onto Buffalo Road through Pine Oaks golf course.
  2. Take the first right onto Rolling Hills Drive.
  3. When Rolling Hills Drive ends, turn right onto Highridge Road.
  4. Drive to end of road.
  5. The main parking/picnic area is a sharp right following the paved road, while the gravel road to the left head to an alternate trailhead at Hartsell Hollow.

This is the primary trailhead location. GPS address: 5070 Highridge Road, Johnson City, TN 37601

The park can also be entered from the Lone Oak Trail on Dry Creek Road.

Trails

The following trails are available in Buffalo Mountain Park. The distances listed are for one way. All of the trails are considered medium difficulty - or at least that level of effort required to reach them. Only the service road is open to mountain bikes.

Trail Miles Blaze
Cascade Trail 2.1 White
Fork Knob Trail with Ladyslipper Loop 0.9 Blue
Fork Ridge Trail 0.6 White
Hartsell Hollow Trail 0.3 Blue
High Ridge Trail 0.3 Blue
Lone Oak Trail 1.8 Orange
Tower Ridge Trail 0.8 Blue
White Rock Trail 1.85 White

Loops hikes can be made by combining:

  1. 4.5 mile "Grand Circuit": White Rock Trail, Fork Ridge Trail, and Cascade Trail.
  2. 2.5 mile: White Rock overlook: Tower Ridge Trail and White Rock Trail
  3. 3.6 mile: To Tip-Top and back: Cascade Trail, Fork Ridge Trail, and High Ridge Trail

The following: Cascade Trail, Fork Knob Trail, High Ridge Trail, and Lone Oak Trail were impacted by the wildfire back in May 2008 - affecting primarily the western side of the park. More open views are available, but also dead rhododendron and trees.

Fees, Hours, Restrictions

There is no fee for Buffalo Mountain Park. The main gate is open 7AM to sunset during the summer (Mar-Oct) and 9AM to sunset in the winter (Nov-Feb). Picnic area is currently closed (for the winter?). Dogs are allowed on leash. Per sign at park, no alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, or firearms.

Mountain biking at Buffalo Mountain is likely referring to the ATV trails to Pinnacle Mountain firetower which is located off Dry Creek Road. Mountain biking in this park is only allowed on the steep service road up to the towers.

Buffalo Mountain Park is managed by the Johnson City Parks & Recreation department. A video about the park can be viewed here - click on BMP picture.

Maps

Johnson City Parks and Rec Map

Having a map is important as the rudimentary trail signs (BSA Eagle projects in past) only direct towards major locations (Tip-Top, Hartsell Hollow, Cascade, etc.) - and do not identify the trail names. Blazing on the trails varies in frequency and effectiveness. White blazes are for the main loop trails. Blue blazes for the major alternative trails and a few access points. Orange blaze is the Lone Oak Trail. Red blazes can be seen on some now discontinued trails and short connectors - and also the park's south boundary with the national forest. To describe some of the routes, this trail wiki will attempt to define what it believes are the trail sections.