Buffalo Mountain Park gives Johnson City the one thing is almost completely lacks: outdoor recreation. While the city is situated in a beautiful area of Northeast Tennessee near many state parks, scenic trails, and water recreation opportunities, this park is the only chance you’ll get for a vigorous hike without including a hefty drive first. Instead, you can find this park with hiking, picnicking, and natural beauty just a few minutes from the heart of Johnson City, Tennessee.
Buffalo Mountain Park sits atop Buffalo Mountain that would, if a scenic overlook were ever built, provide a stunning view of the city below. From any point within Johnson City if you look to the south and see a towering mountain, that is Buffalo Mountain. Maybe that is how it get it’s name?
The park is small, but has a few features people may enjoy. Once inside the city-owned and maintained park the road will fork, with a steep climb to the right and a quick end straight ahead. If you park at the end of this road you can access a couple of the trails that snake and wind their way up and down the mountain. These trails can be easy, mostly flat excursions or vigorous training exercises as you reach the top with the utility towers.
But if you just want to kick back, relax, and enjoy a meal, try heading up the road to the right. It is a very steep climb (one I would never try in icy or snowy conditions) but when you get to the top, you’re treated with the view you see in the photo above. A large shelter stands near the middle, surrounded by dozens of picnic tables with small parking spaces in front of them. It’s certainly a place you can enjoy a picnic with the family, or do what I do and just read a book under the canopy of leaves.