Lone Oak to Tip Top Trail

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Buffalo Mountain Park

Lone Oak to Tip Top Trail is a 3.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Johnson City, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 3.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,259 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

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.

hiking
4 days ago

Steady incline, really beautiful at the top. There is a picnic table at the end! Overall, great sights and workout

hiking
21 days ago

If you want fresh air and exercise, white rock loop is a great option. It’s a little easier to go counterclockwise then clockwise, but you see all the same things either way. Don’t miss the little out and back overlook about a half mile from the camping area, or the out and back to Tip Top For a nice spot to refresh and grab a snack. Continue past Tip Top to do the Lone Oaks Trail on the backside of Buffalo, which gives you almost 10 miles and another 1200 feet of elevation gain if you do it all.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

Not the most scenic views, but a great hike for exercise (you’ll earn your trip to Sonic after), with a couple good overlooks and some running water as you start and finish. Combine with the White Rock loop for a pretty legitimate 1/2 day hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail is good shape as they were completely maintenance today. Great views and a good workout.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this route for the first time today. Trail had lots of switchbacks, very well maintained. I would rate it moderate. Beautiful views, peaceful and quiet. I'll be coming back to this trail again.

great little trail to do if you are near Johnson City and need a quick hike with decent views from Buffalo mountain. it's steep with lots of switchbacks but I think that adds to the fun of the trail. At the top there is a picnic table and bench for you to sit and decompress. I'd definitely do it again.

hiking
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Closer to 4 miles from the parking area. Steep but worth it

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail! I didn't see anyone else the whole time. Nice picnic table at the top and my dog loved it too! Bring water!

hiking
bugs
8 months ago

Did this is September afternoon and it was an amazing hike! Took us about 45 minutes to get to the top where there was picnic tables, benches and an amazing view! Would recommend this to anyone wanting a quick hike but to get their heart pumping! Brought the dog and he loved it!

hiking
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

a pretty tough climb to the Tip Top. Made a few miles around Buffalo before returning. Searched for rattlesnakes and found none. Would do again late autumn for more views.

hiking
10 months ago

This is hands down my favorite trail on Buffalo. It's a great workout, yet short enough so that you can do an out-and-back relatively quickly. Another perk is that it's not as busy as some of the other trails on Buffalo.

11 months ago

For as far as I made it with my dog, it was a great trail. Still looked great after some major rainstorms the last week.

hiking
rocky
11 months ago

Steep in parts, overall a very nice hike

hiking
Sat May 04 2019

4th time and 2nd time in 2 days. I can't get enough. very well maintained trail. It's the gem of Johnson City. Please don't tell anyone. last thing we need is cigarette butts and beer cans on this gorgeous trail.

hiking
Tue Apr 30 2019

ATV trail. Decent when empty but dangerous otherwise.

hiking
Sat Apr 13 2019

It's definitely a hard trail. I would say it is closer to 4 miles in length, not 3.1 according to my watch but again who knows how accurate that is. Anyways, its a fun hike, narrow trail but well maintained and definitely a good workout. towards the end the incline get's steeper but once you get over that hump, the victory feels great. Granted I did hike it with my brother Saturday morning after a Friday night of drinking at the bars haha. So that could have played into why we were so out of breath. But once you get to the top it's a beautiful view of Johnson City and the surrounding area. I highly recommend if you are short on time, it's about a 10 minute drive from campus and you can easily get the hike done in 2 hours. I believe we did it in an hour and 45 minutes and that was even with hanging out for 20 minutes or so at the top.

hiking
Sat Mar 23 2019

This used to be one of my favorite quick getaway trails but has started to become so popular. I used to see no one the entire hike and now it’s rare if I don’t see anyone. It’s a great hike but definitely not lightly trafficked.

hiking
Sun Mar 10 2019

My family and I are from Texas. We didn’t know long or steep this trail was. It was tough but my awesome 6 year old was able to complete it with no complaining!! We were so excited to find out how long and tough the rating was after we completing it....my 9 week old Corgi fell asleep half way down

hiking
muddy
Sat Jan 12 2019

Did this hike two weeks ago as my first of the season. I thought the shorter distance (closer to 4 miles according to my GPS) would be a good way to ease back into things. I was very wrong. It's a steep hike pretty consistently from start to finish, with the final quarter mile or so being the toughest, but man is it worth it. The views from the top looking south towards Unaka Mountain and north towards Johnson City are awesome. Something that was lost on me on the way up was the views along the way. Their much easier to realize on the descent, but they're pretty incredible. The trail head is slightly difficult to find, but it's not far from the parking area, and there's now a road sign marking it, so as long as you can find the parking area (which is easy) you'll be able to find the trail head. Highly recommend this hike if you're looking for a good cardio workout and awesome views.

Mon Jan 07 2019

This hike is a steady climb (with steeper sections) to Tip Top on Buffalo Mtn with some of the best views of Johnson City and Unaka Mountain. The trail can get narrow in some places with drop-offs so not recommended for beginners or small children unfamiliar with the trail.

Wed Apr 18 2018

Beautiful trail that follows a stream for the first segment then winds up the mountain with a lit of switchbacks. Definitely a more strenuous hike, but the views on a clear day at the top are worth it.

hiking
Sat Mar 10 2018

I hiked here yesterday. It was mostly all uphill and constant switchbacks all the way until you finally reach the picnic table, then it straightens out some. I would rate this definitely a more strenuous hike.

Wed Nov 08 2017

Great views, but definitely challenging with a lot of cardio.

hiking
Sat Jul 29 2017

You can park almost directly across from the trailhead in the gravel. Trailhead is not super easy to spot but you'll find it once you get close to it. A lot of switchbacks to start and then it levels off. Not a ton of incline except for the last .25 miles or so. Parts of the trail are a little overgrown and thin so be careful where you step (I accidentally stepped off the trail unknowingly and almost slipped!). Not a terribly difficult hike, I would rate it as moderate.

Fri Jul 14 2017

Final view is awesome! The trail head isn't labeled very well, but there are labels throughout the trail.

hiking
Tue Mar 28 2017

Great in/out hike. I stopped at the first picnic table for a quick stretch then hiked to the second and had a snack. Seems like it took a little over an hour to get to the 2nd table and a lot faster coming out. The app said I had 1hr 23 minutes of moving time, which I don't think is correct because I didn't take long breaks and the trip took me right at 2 hours. The app. also said I went 6 miles but I am skeptical. I'm also unsure if I made it to the end of this segment or past it, but there was a nice view at the table (It was a foggy/rainy morning.) The 2nd table seemed like a good place to turn around as I was shooting for 2 hours and the trail markers turned blue. I don't recall any trail markers to that point but the trail was really easy to follow. It does indeed start out strenuous.

Wed Oct 12 2016

I give this 4 stars because I guess I was expecting some big scenery lol it was a good challenging trail! Had one stop with a picnic table and then another at the top! So was very convenient! The whole way up it is a lot of beautiful scenes!

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