Summary: This is a very nice trail located 5 minutes from ETSU. It is easy to follow, but there are several spurs off the main trail. It is worth taking a look at them if you want to make a longer hike. Everything is well marked, so getting lost isn't a problem. In mid-spring, take the time to follow ladyslipper loop. You will see numerous ladyslippers in bloom. Please be careful if you venture off the trail as the ladyslippers like to grow right on the edge of the path. Huckleberries are very plentiful here in the summer, but the local wildlife depends on them as a major food source, so it isn't a great place to go to pick large quantities. The view from Tip Top is nice, but is more wooded than White Rock. You can make the trail a loop if you follow the high ridge trail to White Rock, then take the White rock trail to the parking area.
Trailhead: From I-81, take Exit 57-A to Johnson City, which puts you on I-26 (formerly I-181). Take Exit 36 to State of Franklin Rd. Turn right at the bottom of the ramp. Stay on State of Franklin for about 5 miles. Just past ETSU, turn right on University Parkway. Follow this road to the redlight where it intersects with Cherokee Rd. Turn right on Cherokee Rd, then take the next left onto Buffalo Rd. Follow Buffalo Rd. for about a mile. Buffalo Rd will take a sharp left and High Ridge Rd will be to the right. Take High Ridge Rd. It is about another 1-2 miles to the trailhead, but a gate marks the entrance to Buffalo Mountain Park about half way up. This gate is frequently closed in the winter. Once you reach the picnic area, follow the one-way loop around about 3/4 of its length. On the right, there is a small parking area adjacent to the trailhead. (Lat:36.27726 Lon:-82.34887)
Trail Guides for Buffalo Mountain-Tip Top Trail:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Johnson City Parks & Rec (423) 283-5815
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Ashley Blevins, who has posted 2 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by MT on 8/4/2013
We went to Tip Top and enjoyed the hike. Very beautiful views, even though it was a bit cloudy and threatening rain. We look forward to checking out the other trails. Parking is a lot better compared to some of the other parks we have hiked. Some spots of the trail are narrow but can be handled if your prepared for the hike and are wearing the right foot wear. We only came across a few people on the trail. My favorite part of the hike was all the butterflies we came across. The hike took a bit over 2 hours but I'm a little camera happy so may not take others as long if they aren't stopping as much as I do. Bring/use bug spray for this hike, even though this was only our third hike for the summer it was the only one we needed it for.
Reviewed by G.H. on 9/10/2012
I was approached by what I suspect was a gay man trying to hit on me, he got uncomfortably close to my front door and was just a "creeper" in general. It was just very spooky but other than that encounter the mountain seems beautiful!
Reviewed by TH on 4/14/2012
I have hiked this several times and have had no problems.. I have only passed a couple of people on the way to White Rock, and that was on the gravel road on the way up. The only people I have passed on the trail are trail runners and a couple of couples....If you park and start at the gravel assess road, instead of the picnic area, you can bypass all the easy trails which the mo's like to hang around at. If you do the full loop of 4.5 . You will really only be exposed to the picnic area on the way out at the very end.from the Lady slipper loop on the top, it is all down hill from here across acres of old fire scalded ridges and cool saddles.. It is a great place to stretch out.
Reviewed by Grissom on 8/30/2011
Nice trail, could use a little more TLC but for something so close to the city it is very nice.
Reviewed by Viewer on 7/24/2011
I LIVED ON FRONT SIDE OF BUFFALO IN THE 70S. WENT BACK 6 YEARS AGO. NEED I SAY MORE.MAYBE WHAT JESUS SAID FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY DONT KNOW WHAT THEY DO. BUT OUR FEDERAL GOVERMENT KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING. THATS FOR SHURE
Reviewed by gv on 7/24/2011
ust to live there
Reviewed by Brian on 10/18/2010
The west side trail to Tip Top is more challenging but the views are worth it, especially in the late Fall and early Spring. Because it starts at the base of Tip Top, there is more elevation climb than from Buffalo. The beginning of the trail has many switch-backs but you soon get into open areas. There are parts on the upper section of this trail that are narrow and a little rougher but the trail as a whole is great. Make sure to bring a walking pole(s). To get to the trail head, don't turn L onto Buffalo Rd but travel 2 more miles on Cherokee before making a left turn onto Loan Oak Road (this turns into Dry Creek Road). Go approximately 2 miles and look for the trail head sign for Tip Top on the right.
Reviewed by Rob on 10/11/2009
Every chance I get to go up on the beautiful Buffalo Mtn. I go. I've hiked this trail probably 7-8 times and intend to in the days to come. This is my piece of paridise just out of my back yard!
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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