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Buffalo Mountain Fire Tower

Difficult
 3.8 (6) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Gravel climb up Briar Creek Road (FS 188) to the fire tower before a rowdy descent down Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail #29.


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Map Key

13.5

Miles

21.7

KM

50%

Singletrack

3,516' 1,072 m

High

2,007' 612 m

Low

1,944' 592 m

Up

1,876' 572 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

29%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Features Views

Overview

A perfect mix of gravel and trail, with a little asphalt descending for good measure. The apex of this truly unique loop up Forest Road #188 is the Buffalo Mountain Fire Tower before a rocky, rooty, steep descent back to the bottom.

Need to Know

Trail #29 is multiuse with motorized users and, while you won't exactly find a traffic jam, as with any multidirectional trail, always be aware of your surroundings and keep your bike in control at all times.

There is a $5 per vehicle parking fee in the feed tube at the trailhead, so bring some cash.

Downtown Johnson City is only a few miles away full of perfect post-ride breweries and a freakishly diverse list of options for grub.

Description

This 13 mile route starts and ends from the parking lot of Trail #29 in the Cherokee National Forest and truly has the best of everything. Kick things off with a short (but fast) descending road ride headed down Dry Creek Road just outside of downtown Johnson City and through the incredible Cherokee National Forest. Take a left on Briar Creek Road (FS 188) which quickly turns into a spectacular gravel/dirt climb all the way to the fire tower on the top of Buffalo Mountain.

Hop on Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail #29 for a rowdy descent back to Dry Creek Road filled with everything from smooth hardpack, crazy steep dips, berms, and ROCKS. The road, gravel, and trail all have views that make the effort completely worth it.

Riders can also shuttle up Forest Road #188. Most use the fire tower parking lot as the turn around point (easily identified with a yellow gate blocking off car traffic to the tower). With nearly 2,000 feet of climbing, it's no surprise that this trail is also popular with eMTBs.

You can easily add 5 mile road out and back along Dry Creek Road by parking (when not in use of course) at Cherokee Elementary or 7 miles from ETSU/Downtown Johnson City. There are also several parking options along Dry Creek Road typical with most national forests.

Contacts

Shared By:

Chad Wolfe

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 6 votes

#2560

Overall
  3.8 from 6 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
17%
Recommended Route Rankings

#46

in Tennessee

#2,560

Overall
20 Views Last Month
1,387 Since Jul 22, 2019
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
33%
67%
0%

Photos

Trail with a view.
Apr 1, 2022 near Unicoi, TN
Trail #29.
Jul 18, 2021 near Unicoi, TN
Fire tower view.
Jul 23, 2017 near Unicoi, TN
Trail #29
Jul 18, 2021 near Unicoi, TN
Trail #29.
Jul 18, 2021 near Unicoi, TN
One of the many overlooks from trail 29.
Jan 19, 2020 near Unicoi, TN

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