Hike to Tip Top on Buffalo Mountain

Johnson City, Tennessee

based on 2 reviews



5.4 miles

Elevation Gain

1388 ft

Route Type



Added by Merritt McKinney

Part of the Buffalo Mountain trail system, Tip Top proudly overlooks Downtown Johnson City and its surrounding green mountains. Its shaded overlook provides the perfect place to set up a hammock and relax after the moderate hike.

Tip Top rests on one of the highest points of Buffalo Mountain. The overlook features tree coverage perfect for hammocking and benches while providing views of Downtown Johnson City as well as the other side of the mountain range. The hike from the trailhead to Tip Top is moderately steep. The trail switchbacks 2.7 miles up, is well maintained, and is mostly protected by shade from the thick forest. Tip Top trail is part of the Buffalo Mountain trail system and connects to White Rock - you can access White Rock from Tip Top via via Fork Ridge Trail.

When pulling up Highbridge Road, take a left at the fork. You will shortly encounter a vehicle gate where you will park to the side of the road (do not block the yellow vehicle gate). Set off on the trail located down the embankment. After .15 miles, take a right turn on White Rock Loop (marked with a white blaze). Follow White Rock Loop into Cascade Trail. Follow Cascade Trail for 1.7 miles until you encounter a fork. Bear right at the fork and follow High Ridge Trail until you arrive at Tip Top. All offshoots and forks are clearly marked with trail signs.

The hike to Tip Top is dog friendly and a popular trail-running destination. There is also a camping area at the bottom of the mountain. A picnic table sits on Tip Top for those wanting to pack a lunch. There are various flowers and wild berries off the sides of the trail. 

Tip Top can also be accessed via Lone Oak Trail from Dry Creek Road.  

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Picnic Area

Hike to Tip Top on Buffalo Mountain Reviews

This hike was a bit harder and longer than I expected. You can continue hiking from the top if wanted. During the hike, you reach the top of a hill that seems like it might be the top, but you continue down and back up another hill to reach the views. The views at the top are beautiful.

Photos are a little deceitful - the views are nothing close to that at Tip Top. In fact, many trees have grown in and there’s very little view at all, compared to many other hikes I’ve done. That being said, this trail is a great workout. Mostly flat so very easy to travel but it offers lots of different scenery. Enjoyed the hike itself more than the “ending”, but I’d still go again!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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