Though it hugs the North Carolina border for nearly 200 miles, the Appalachian Trail doesn’t officially cross into Tennessee until it reaches the Nolichucky River at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (about four miles outside Erwin). On this section, elevations frequently exceed 5,000 feet.
The developed paths are reached from the south side of Johnson City by the road leading to the radio and TV towers atop the mountain. From I-26 take 321 west into Johnson City, left on Cherokee Road, immediate left on Buffalo Road, right on Rolling Hills, right on High Ridge Road. Offers 8.2 miles of moderate hiking trails; a 1,500-foot rise from picnic area to the top can be strenuous. White Rock Trail is a very strenuous, three-mile hike. All mileage is measured from picnic area.
The Pinnacle Mountain Trail serves as a destination trail to a rehabilitated fire tower. The trailhead, at the foot of Buffalo Mountain, provides convenient trail access from Interstate 26, Exit 32, in the Town of Unicoi. From this trailhead vantage point, Pinnacle Mountain Trail #25 winds its way up the mountain at grades the whole family can enjoy.