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Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Alt Names

Buffalo Mountain Park, Buffalo Mountain, Cherokee National Forest, Horse Cove Gap Trailhead, Unicoi County, Cherokee Mountain, Pinnacle Mountain, Straight Creek, Sinking Creek, Briar Creek, Trail #29, Unaka Ranger District, Ramsey Creek

Last Known StatusOpen

The Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail (not to be confused with Buffalo Mountain in West Virginia) is the only trail located in the Cherokee National Forest that is open to ATVs. The staging area is small and is only open for day use but is paved and shady and has a loading ramp and self pay kiosk station.

The trail is linear (one way in, one way out) and is about 13 miles long each way. The trail starts off with a steep climb from the staging area but eventually heads south and follows the ridgeline of Buffalo Mountain. The trails also winds near the Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower, which can be accessed by a short hiking trail.

The trail has a seasonal closure which usually begins around the first week of January and ends around late March.

Please note that this trail is not recommended for beginner riders due to rocky sections, roots, tree stumps and steep climbs.

Trail Map... Driving Map... Best Nearby Trails...


Nearest CityJohnson City, TN
Go Back To Tennessee List
Street Map
Trail MapGo To Trail Map
From: Johnson City, TN
1) Take US-19W to exit 24
2) Turn left (west) off the exit ramp onto University Pkwy/SR-67, continue .9 miles
3) Turn left (south) on Cherokee Road, continue 2 miles
4) Turn left (south-east) on Lone Oak Road, continue .6 miles
5) Road name changes to Dry Creek Road, continue 2.8 miles
6) Staging area is on the left (east).


LandNational Forest


Our RatingRatingGood    
Recommended StayFull Day
Comments(Scroll Down For Visitor Reviews & Comments)


Approx Size2,560 acres (4 sq mi)
Miles Of Trail26
Climate TypeForest
Elevation2400 to 3000 ft.
Trail MaintenanceMarked, Not Rated, Lightly Maintained
Loose DirtThis trail has little loose dirt.Little
Hard PackThe trail has mostly hard pack terrain.Mostly
SandThis trail has little sandy areas.Little
MudThe trail has some mud after it rains.Some
DustThe trail has some dust on typical days.Some
RocksThis trail has mostly rocks.Mostly
TreesThe trail has almost all trees.All
Steep HillsThis trail has some steep hills.Some
Small JumpsThis trail has no small jumps.None
Large JumpsThis trail has no large jumps.None
BermsThe trail has few berms.Few
Sand/Gravel PitsThis national forest has no sand or gravel pits.None
Single TrackThis national forest has no single track trails.None
ShadeThis national forest has many shaded areas.Many
HazardsThis trail has few hazards.Few(hazards assumed marked but use caution)
Easy Terrain NoviceThis trail has some beginner terrain.Some
Moderate Terrain AmateurThis trail has mostly intermediate level terrain.Mostly
Difficult Terrain ExpertThis trail has some expert terrain.Some
CommentTrail is 13 miles long each way.


Permit RequiredNo
Dates OpenMarch - January
Spark ArrestorYesA spark arresting silencer or end cap is required for all vehicles.
Noise LimitYes (96 dB)
Whip FlagsNot Required
Maximum Vehicle WidthYes (50 inches)has entrance gate or posts
Allow Dirt Bikes, Trail Bikes and Motorcycles MotorcyclesPermitted
Allow All Terrain Vehicles / Quads / Four Wheelers Four WheelersPermitted(maximum width 50 inches)
Allow Utility Terrain Vehicles, Side by Sides (SXS), RZR UTVs / SXSPermitted(maximum width 50 inches)
Allow 4x4 Jeeps, SUVs and 4 x 4 Trucks with License Plates SUVs / Jeeps (registered)Prohibited
Dune Buggy/Sand Rail
4x4 (unregistered)
Two Strokes /
2 Cycle Engines
No Restriction
Helmets RequiredYes
BicyclesNo Restriction
HikingNo Restriction
HorsebackNo Restriction
Camping / Overnight RV Parking CampingProhibited
Campfire Restrictions CampfiresProhibited
Night RidingNoriding hours sunrise to sunset
Cross CountryProhibitedstay on the trail
Emergency / Law Enforcement
Insurance*Disclaimer: RiderPlanet strongly recommends that all visitors get insurance for their ATV, UTV or motorcycle before visiting any of the locations shown on this website.


EntryYes ($5.00 per vehicle)


First Aid First Aid5-20 Miles (N)Johnson City Medical Center (423) 431-6111
Gasoline Gasoline5-20 Miles (NE)Shell (423) 928-6273
Diesel Diesel5-20 Miles (NE)Shell (423) 928-6273
Potable Water Water5-20 Miles (SE)Rock Creek Recreation Area Campground (423) 638-4109
RV Hookups RV Hookup5-20 Miles (SE)Nolichucky Gorge Campground (423) 743-8876
RV Dump Station RV Disposal5-20 Miles (SE)Rock Creek Recreation Area Campground (423) 638-4109
Primitive Camping Campground5-20 Miles (SE)Rock Creek Recreation Area Campground (423) 638-4109
Convenience Store Conv Store5-20 Miles (NE)Shell (423) 928-6273
Swimming Swim Area5-20 Miles (SE)Rock Creek Recreation Area Campground (423) 638-4109
Body of Water Water BodyOn SiteStraight Creek, Briar Creek
Boating Launch Boat Ramp5-20 Miles (NE)Winged Deer Park Boat Ramp (423) 283-5815


Contact InfoCherokee National Forest - Unaka Ranger District
4900 Asheville Hwy SR70
Greenville, TN 37743
(423) 638-4109


Buffalo Mountain Trail Photo

Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail

Photo Submitted 7/9/2012 (Thanks!)

Buffalo Mountain Trail Photo

Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail

Photo Submitted 4/20/2013 (Thanks!)

Buffalo Mountain Trail Photo

Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail

Photo Submitted 4/20/2013 (Thanks!)

Buffalo Mountain Trail Photo

OHV at Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail

Photo Submitted 5/4/2013 (Thanks!)

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