Buffalo Mountain Preserve

  • Highlights: Great views, rare plants, wildlife
  • Distance: 2.2 miles out and back
  • Elevation change: 560 feet
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Trailhead Parking: State route 727 near Union VA. The small parking area accommodates about 10 vehicles
  • Website: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Beer Pairings: Buffalo Mountain Brewery—McDaniel’s Scotch Ale & Copperhead IPA

The Hike:

Buffalo Mountain’s rocky summit (3,971 feet) towers above the surrounding landscape. This area is home to a diverse ecosystem and is considered one of Virginia’s greatest natural heritage treasures. This fun hike climbs to the top of Buffalo Mountain with an opportunity to experience the unique plants and animals found throughout the preserve.

The trailhead parking area has a pit toilet and kiosk with trail maps and descriptions of the natural resources found in the area. Two trails form a loop: the blue-blazed Ridge Trail and the red-blazed Oak Trail. Both trails connect with the orange-blazed Barrens Loop Trail which reaches the summit. The trails are well marked and well maintained.

We went up the red trail and came down the blue trail. The preserve is home to several rare plants so please help protect the unique biodiversity at Buffalo Mountain and stay on marked trails at all times. 

Regardless of which trail you take, the orange-blazed Barrens Loop Trail is a short spur trail to the summit. The panoramic views from the rocky summit are some of the best in Virginia. On a clear day, the mountains of North Carolina, the Roanoke Valley, Mount Rogers, and Peaks of Otter are visible. Take in the great views and then return on the orange trail. To return to the parking area, take either the red or the shorter blue trail.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Buffalo Mountain Brewery is about 20 minutes from the trailhead in Floyd VA. They have a nice selection of craft beer, indoor and outdoor seating, food, and live music on weekends. Dogs are welcome outside. This is a friendly family-owned brewery and we definitely plan to return.

Kathy really liked Copperhead IPA. It is medium bodied  and moderately strong, hoppy, and bitter but very smooth. It was really good. Pete listened to several rave reviews about McDaniel’s Scotch Ale and decided to give it a try. It was nicely malted with a deep ruby color and notes of caramel with a roasted malt finish. 

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.