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Live in Johnson City: A Guide to Johnson City and Buffalo Mountain

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

If you're new here, considering moving, or have lived in Johnson City your whole life, check out this series: Live in Johnson City, a guide to Johnson City.

I love living in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee or what we affectionately now call the Appalachian Highlands. I consider Tennessee home and have for much of my life but in actuality am a transplant from the North. Born outside of Jonesborough, I lived my first nine years in Eastern Tennessee. I have fond memories of the area but didn’t realize what an incredible place I lived in until I moved back. 

Image sourced from google

The first thing you must know if you are new to the area or thinking of moving to Johnson City is that this is a mountain town. I say mountain town because Johnson City is the heart and the center of the Appalachian mountains high country. You have unique access to the best parts of the mountains. You might be thinking, but I have young kids, or I am not much of a hiker. Give the mountains a chance, and those doubts will fade out. The opportunities to explore waterfalls and mountain peaks that surround this beautiful city will transform the way you view adventure. You will soon find that the only reason you thought you did not like to hike is that you had never been on a hike in the Appalachian Highlands. 

When you drive around town, notice the beautiful blue mountains that surround the area. One of the more popular mountains, known as Buffalo Mountain, anchors the south part of our city. Buffalo Mountain Park part of the Johnson City parks and rec system and was obtained through a land swap. The park trail system offers hiking with beautiful views of the area, encompassing 725 acres. 

There are two access points to enter the park. The most popular one is the parking area within the park. The parking lots can be accessed by following signs from Cherokee road. The other is to access the Lone Oak Trail off of Dry Creek Road. Plug the address: 570 High Ridge Road in your GPS for further directions. 

The park offers rugged hiking to several beautiful lookouts. Peaking out at 3300 feet above sea level is Tip Top and will manifest a deep love for this city. Though it is much lower than surrounding peaks, the proximity and convenience to downtown make this a must-do. Despite some tree coverage, you will find incredible views, especially from the top of the picnic table. If you are looking for breath-taking beauty and color, wait for autumn to take in 360-degree views of the changing leaves. 

My favorite overlook within the park is White Rock. It can is accessible by following the White Rock Trail that loops around the park. Stop to take in the views at White Rock as you enjoy the breeze and a reprieve from the climb up the trail. Looking out to the East, you will find 180-degree views of the mountains, including Roan, Unaka, and Beauty Spot Mountain. To the North, you can view downtown Johnson City. You can even spot the Johnson City Medical Center, the John Sevier Building and, Science Hill High School. 

I hope you enjoy the views, the hike, and the beauty of buffalo mountain. Check out more of our outdoor adventures and continue to explore Johnson City. Welcome home. 

- Will Hunter

Certain images with in this post have been sourced from google.

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