Buffalo Mountain-White Rock Trail

MODERATE 95 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Buffalo Mountain-White Rock Trail is a 4.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Johnson City, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

4.5 miles
1236 feet

dog friendly

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


Great view, rhododendron gardens, beautiful stream This is a nice place to hike when you don't have a lot of time to get out of the city. The view is great, especially on a clear day. The hike isn't difficult, but if you take the White Rock trail, it is easy to get off the path. At a sign marking the direction of the access road, the trail seems to follow the stream, but this simply leads back to some small waterfalls. It is definitely worth a look if you have time, but the trail to White Rock actually goes uphill at the sign. If you stand with you back to the sign, the trail goes up the mountain over some tree roots, then curves back to the right. May/June is a popular time to visit this trail, as the rhodedendrons are in bloom. You can make the hike a loop if you take the Tip Top trail back to the parking area. Word of caution: This may not be the best place to hike alone, especially for females. Sometimes there are strange people hanging around the picnic area.

10 days ago

Fun hike. Needs better markings. Blue trail confusion

2 months ago

This trail is very rewarding with a few steep elevation gains and beautiful views. I hiked it this afternoon and only saw one other person, so the woodland solitude just outside of town was well worth it! The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the trails are very poorly marked. I'm very glad I had my All Trails app with me, otherwise it would have been easy to get lost. Even still, the navigation was rather tricky, so come prepared with maps and or a GPS.

2 months ago

Has a great overlook that is not difficult to get to.

4 months ago

it was snowing with a lot of clouds when I went. parts were very steep and the trail markings are a bit confusing. the payoff might be better on a clear day

4 months ago

Nice little hike if you want to just get out doors for a little bit and do a light to moderate hike.

4 months ago

I hike the loop once or twice a week year around. It's a great place to bring kids and (friendly) dogs. And a good trail for exercise since it has a pretty good elevation gain, but nothing too strenuous. I typically hike the loop + Tip Top in about an hour and twenty minutes in a fairly fast pace for exercise. Allow for 2 - 3 hours or more if you want to walk in a more leisurely pace or are bringing kids, or if you just want to take your time to enjoy the views on a pretty day.

It is more strenuous to follow the loop clock-wise than counter clock-wise as it is a steeper incline going up the east side of the mountain to White Rock compared to going up the Cascade trail on the other side. For an extra challenge as far as getting exercise, follow the Tower Ridge trail up to the towers instead of the loop towards White Rock once you see the sign . It is shorter, but an even steeper incline. It will merge back to the loop at the top, but you have to go a little bit back in the "wrong" direction of the loop if you want to see White Rock going that way.

The views from Tip Top are good towards the south, but kind of overgrown towards Johnson City in the summer months (better in the winter). The views from White Rock are very nice year around, and on a clear day there are mountains as far as the eye can see.

I will say that the people that come here looking for the waterfalls (and I meet people that do all the time) will go home disappointed. There are a couple of small streams, but no real waterfall. If you come here during or right after a heavy rainfall you might see some water-flow in the "cascade" and in the creek that comes down by the gate (still not what I or anybody I know would call a "waterfall"), but normally it's just a small trickle. Tons of options around here to see real waterfalls, but this isn't one of them.

4 months ago

the trails themselves were fairly easy to stay on. however, the trails were poorly labeled. and you didn't know which marker was for what trail. the view was beautiful, hence the 4.

5 months ago

Great hike and dog friendly

6 months ago

The loop was a perfect hike to get outside for a little while and immerse in nature. Very quiet and calm. Challenging in some parts but very worth while.

6 months ago

I made a short loop instead of the white rock loop (see recording). It is not worth it. The trail that leading back I did, which include the part of lady slipper loop, is really not very interesting, the forest is not in a good shape and the trail has a strong slope. I suggest to take a bit longer but much nicer full loop.

8 months ago

Great hiking! Lots of uphill and downhill! At tip top point it was great but lots of flies and bugs. The white marker is to follow the trail. It took about 3 hours to do.

8 months ago

Our first visit to this trail we encountered a black bear and her cubs just 30' away, the bear was not aggressive, we just kept walking. Hike has great views of Johnson City. There is also a great overlook down from the towers just off the service road.

11 months ago

easy hike and a lot of fun.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Great hike, easy and safe.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Great place to hike, especially in the fall. Crazy to think it's just 5-10 minutes from downtown Johnson City!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Beautiful views on the "tip top" trail!

Monday, August 22, 2016

took my son when he was 5...awesome hike....

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Nice views, easy uphill climb. Good to do, when time is a factor

Monday, August 08, 2016

This is one of my favorite hikes, it's just an easy, and fun little hike for when you need some outdoor time.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Great variety of different trails. warning - $4 fee to get in, but so worth it

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

this was literally my first time ever and it was absolutely amazing. I'm really happy with the way it was set up. I thought I was going to get lost at one point because there was a couple Y split offs but I found my way out and it was great! There was a whole bunch of nature to see and beautiful things to look at!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

White rock trail loops widest around the mountain, 4.2 to 5.5 miles if you add tip top and don't short cut. easiest 'moderate' trails there, great views everywhere early spring, only at the 2 overlooks (not tip top) once the leaves are back on the trees.

the inner 'blue loop' is shorter and steeper, still a mid-moderate hike not much on views.

straight up the blue path along the creek is steeper yet, turns to the pink trail which meets the blue trail 1/4 mile east of the towers.

or shortcut and take the easy service road up and pick any one of the paths back down. I suggest the east side white trail for the best views at white top.

He forewarned, have seen several timber rattlers and my dog was bitten by a copperhead up there last week.

Also, a lot of people don't keep their pets leashed, so expect to be rushed by loose dogs regularly.

and I have never seen a waterfall, lol, though there are some nice cascades along the center blue/pink trail.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The hike itself is nice. There are decent views throughout the hike, but there is no opening just for the view once you've reached the tops. It's obscured by trees. But overall, we enjoyed our hike!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

It was very hot when we did the full loop in early August, which probably made the moderate hike seem more difficult that in it was. Much of the trail is underwhelming due to an apparent fire in recent years, but there are some quite beautiful spots as well. The view from the tip top trail were a little underwhelming compared to the views from White Rock, which are spectacular.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Nice lookout! Good, short beginner trails as well.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Was great trail, but it's sad that the smokers think it's ok to throw their cigarette butts on ground!!!!
Didn't this place catch fire? 8-10 yr ago?
Other than that great trail!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

I thought White Rock was on private property. How do I get permission?

Monday, April 13, 2015

nice views

Monday, March 30, 2015

Two friends and I have hiked White Rock many times now, but it never seems to get old since the trail feels different with each season! Fall through Spring has been a blast, can't wait to hike it in summer. Easy but steep hike if you take the gravel service road, but moderate hike of you go through the forest. We aren't exceptional hikers but this trail is challenging enough to keep our attention but not so hard that its unpleasant. Gorgeous views throughout, even though White Rock itself isn't particularly exceptional. Go to Tip Top if you can, it makes the experience incredible!

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