360 Degree Views!
Buffalo Mountain is one of the most visible landmarks in Fancy Gap and the surrounding area. It makes for a great hike. It’s a great place for a picnic or a sunset view. The peak towers above the rest of Floyd County, Carroll County and other neighboring counties, and the 360 degree views are outstanding. Pilot Mountain, Sauratown Mountain and Bull Mountain are all visible from the summit.
You’ll find more nice views of Sauratown and Pilot Mountains at 4:23 of this video:
The peak sits at 3,971 feet and is a sub-alpine climate, which apparently translates to, “Yikes! It’s windy up here!” The trail to the top of Buffalo Mountain is a nice hike up a moderate grade, a little over a mile from the parking area to the summit. You’ll find an information kiosk at the parking area.
Plants and Critters
Buffalo Mountain is one of the most significant natural areas in Virginia, supporting an amazing 13 rare plant occurrences, three rare animals and six significant natural communities. The combination of high-elevation, wind-exposed rocky openings at the summit, and magnesium rich soils make it unlike any place else in the Commonwealth.
Revolutionary and Civil War History
Buffalo Mountain was part of a large tract of land granted to Revolutionary War hero General Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee as a reward for his military service. The property passed on to his sons, Charles Carter Lee and Civil War General Robert E. Lee. Charles Carter Lee built a home near the base of the mountain and his former law office, a small log cabin, still stands on an adjoining piece of land.
The Man Who Moved a Mountain
A lesser known but perhaps more influential man in these parts, Rev. Bob Childress lived in the hollow across from Buffalo Mountain. His dedicated service to his rough and tumble mountain neighbors is chronicled in the book The Man Who Moved a Mountain. The many stone churches he built still pepper the areas surrounding Buffalo Mountain.
Head to the Floyd Country Store for some good food, good music and ice cream and then head out for a hike to the top of Buffalo Mountain. After working off the ice cream, head back to Pilot’s Perch Cabin for a different but just as breathtaking a view of Sauratown Mountain and Pilot Mountain.
From Fancy Gap, head north on US 52 for 12 miles to Hillsville.
Turn right on 221. Follow US 221 about 15 miles to the town of Willis.
Turn right onto VA 799 (Conner Grove Road). Follow VA 799 about 5 miles to VA 727. Turn right onto Moles Road (VA 727). Go about 1 mile, and turn right to stay on VA 727. Go 1 mile to a 3-way fork. Bear to the right and follow the gravel access road to the summit parking area.
Location: Willis, VA (Between Fancy Gap and Floyd, VA)
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~50 minutes
Distance: 1.1 miles out and back (2.2 miles total)
Skill Level: Moderate
Highlights: 360 views; views of Pilot Mountain and Sauratown Mountain
Notes: Gravel road to the top can be tight; navigate Buffalo Mountain Parking Area when using GPS.