JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – In the heart of Johnson City sits a massive park spanning more than 720 acres. It’s home to all types of wildlife, from squirrels and owls, to even black bears.
Buffalo Mountain City Park is a beacon to those traveling, announcing that they’ve arrived home. However, while it’s known as a city park, it can be difficult to climb. Park representatives say one of the biggest misunderstandings is that this park is one a beginner can conquer, but that’s not always the case.
While there are easier hikes, most of Buffalo Mountain provides trails that are more appropriate for intermediate to experienced hikers; one of those trials is the White Rock Loop. This is the trail that your Trail Team 11 explored with an employee of the park.
Around 1.5 miles straight up the mountain, visitors can experience an uninhibited view of the Tri-Cities region. However, hikers need to prepare for a hike that is mostly uphill, as you start in the middle of the mountain, and work your way up to the top.
To find the overlook, hikers need to start on the service road and make their way to the entrance of the trail. However, if hiking through the woods is something visitors want to avoid, you can find the overlook from the service road. Hiking through the mountains provides visitors with a real, in-depth look at what the forests of Buffalo Mountain have to offer.
If you’re hiking during the winter, professionals with the city park say you need to be prepared. Connie Deegan, the Program Coordinator/Nature with the City Park at Buffalo Mountain, recommends hikers prepare with multiple layers. That’s because when you start the hike, you’re most likely going to be chilly, but once you get moving (especially with all the uphill climbs) it’s going to get much warmer. However, once you get to the top and stop moving, you can expect to get cold again.
During the winter you also need to prepare to hike in the snow. This means non-slip, waterproof shoes. While you’re hiking on a slippery, downhill slope, Deegan also recommends that you hike sideways, this will help prevent you from slipping.
To see how to make it through the forest, and up to the lookout point, watch the full video above.