Buffalo Creek Park and Trails

A 1,527-acre natural wonderland of forest, cliffs, streams, and plethora of diverse flora and fauna.

New Parking Available. 

Located on the rugged and remote slopes of Weed Patch Mountain near the head of the Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure, Buffalo Creek Park features more than 12 miles of hiking and mountain biking, front country and back country trails so that visitors may explore its scenic, natural splendor.

As one of North Carolina’s largest town-owned parks, Buffalo Creek Park is protected land that was made possible and forever conserved through extensive local and regional partnerships.

Formerly slated for residential development, the land was purchased out of bankruptcy in 2009 by local land trust, Conserving Carolina (then Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy) for the purpose of conservation.

Conserving Carolina then forever protected all of its 1,500+ acres in partnership with the Clean Water Management Trust Fund via a conservation easement in 2011. This protection ensures that its forest, waters, soils, and serene landscape are forever safeguarded from negative impacts such as development, logging, mining, and erosion & sedimentation.

The Town of Lake Lure partnered with Conserving Carolina and the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) in 2012 to purchase an initial 200 acres of the protected land on Weed Patch Mountain. With funding from PARTF and the Recreational Trails Program, a 3.5 mile Loop Trail for mountain biking and hiking was completed in 2013. An initial 0.7 miles of the Weed Patch Mountain Trail was also completed.

Bigger & Better

Buffalo Creek Park expanded in 2017 when the Town again partnered with Conserving Carolina. Funded again by PARTF, Conserving Carolina conveyed an additional 1,320 acres to the Town of Lake Lure to expand BCP to its current size of 1,527 acres, making it one of the largest town-owned parks in North Carolina. 

Additionally, the backcountry Weed Patch Mountain Trail was extended 7.8 miles, linking Buffalo Creek Park to Chimney Rock State Park at dramatic Eagle Rock. The Weed Patch Mountain Trail won a national award in June 2019. Click here to read more.

The 3.5 mile Loop Trail features smooth trail tread, four to five feet in width, with banked turns and numerous bridges and boardwalks.  It is suitable for INTERMEDIATE level mountain bikers and hikers. The trail gains more than 700 feet in elevation with several steep pitches. Total time required for most users is 2 to 3 hours.

Scenic features include:

  • An abundance of wildflowers in spring and summer
  • Small cascades
  • A boulder field with large rock crags - popular with rock climbers
  • A vista of the slopes and cliffs of nearby Young’s Mountain to the east

Features of the National award Winning Weed Patch Mountain Trail:

The WPM traverses far more rugged and remote terrain on the slopes of protected Weed Patch Mountain. There is no public access/exit point at its terminus; it, therefore, requires an out-and-back journey. The trail difficulty for all users is considered STRENUOUS / ADVANCED.

It has increased risks for users and requires a greater level of preparation, experience, and comfort in the outdoors before hiking/biking.  Total time required for most users to hike or bike this trail is at least eight hours. Total round trip distance is 20 miles and requires a cumulative 4,500 feet of ascent.

Know Before you Go:

The public trail head has room for 5-7 vehicles and is an interim parking solution. Work is underway to build a large parking area on an adjacent acre of land.

There are two trail heads: the northern, public parking area on Buffalo Creek Road and a southern parking area inside the Rumbling Bald Resort, which is private in that it serves the residents and guests of the resort. These two parking areas are connected by a 1/3 mile flat pathway - which is a nice, flat walk in itself -  that follows Buffalo Creek. Midway between is a bridge and the start of the trail.

After a short distance, the trail crosses a small footbridge and reaches a fork that starts and finishes the loop. From here, riders will travel in the opposite direction of those on foot. A sign indicates the directions which reverse daily.

In either direction, the trail has three sections. After a brief warmup, a stout climb gets you 500 feet up the mountain, but intermediate descents mean you earn about 1,000 feet of total climbing. Then, there's a smooth traverse in the middle section that takes you through a large boulder field that attracts climbers and the rare Green Salamander. You then finish with a fast, flowing descent on banked switchbacks. The trail has an average grade of nine percent with short sections of 15-20 percent.

More about the Park

Buffalo Creek Park is the gateway to 1500+ acres of conserved land that protects the northern headwaters of Lake Lure.  At the junction of the Loop Trail, is the Weed Patch Mountain Trail, an 8.6 mile out and back rugged trail for advanced mountain biking and hiking.

All combined, it is the only mountain bike trail system within a 20-mile radius of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock State Park.  

While the park was designed and grant-funded as a mountain biking park, it is a real treat for various outdoor enthusiasts:

 -  Mountain bikers seeking to improve their climbing skills and to enjoy fast, flowing descents. 

-  Trail runners in search of a serious aerobic workout.

-  Hikers wishing to spend a couple of hours on a smooth, pleasant trail through wooded terrain with a moderate amount of climbing.

-  Dog owners intent on exercising themselves and their pet companions.

-  Naturalists who will enjoy exploring the Park's ecosystems that support several unique species, including the rare green salamander.

- And, for rock climbers, the BCP Loop trail intersects a boulder field with many new problems to be solved.

Frequently Asked Questions about the operation of the park


Follow a pictorial journey of the park's construction captured by Clint Calhoun, naturalist and environmental control officer for the Town of Lake Lure. Clint has posted a great image gallery here