Buffalo Mountain is one of the most significant natural areas in Virginia. It boasts an amazing 13 rare plant occurences, 3 rare animal occurences, and 6 significant natural communities. The combination of high-elevation (3,971 feet), wind-exposed openings at the summit, and magnesium rich soils make it unlike any place else in the Commonwealth.
On the treeless summit, strong winds and boreal climate support subalpine vegetation including three-toothed cinquefoil and Rocky Mountain woodsia. The south face of the mountain contains grassy, prairie-like openings composed of wildflowers and native warm-season grasses more typical to the Midwest than to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wet, magnesium-rich seeps along the base of the mountain support globally rare grasses and wildflowers such as bog bluegrass and large-leaved grass-of-parnassus.
Buffalo Mountain is also the only known location in the world for a mealybug called Puto kosztarabi.
Public access facilities include a small parking area and a steep 1 mile hiking trail to the summit.
Part or all of the preserve may be periodically closed for resource protection or prescribed burning activities.
The Buffalo Mountain Volunteer Stewardship Committee (BMVSC) is a group of local citizens that assists DCR with stewardship activities at Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve. The BMVSC maintains an informative website with additional site information, photographs, and news of current events. See: http://www.west-point.org/family/buffalo/
From Roanoke, follow I-81 south towards Christiansburg. Exit onto VA 8 and head south towards Floyd. At Floyd, turn right onto US 221, and follow it about 6 miles. Turn left (south) on 727 (Union School Road) and go about 4.5 miles to Conner Grove Road (VA 799). Turn right onto 799, go about 100 feet and turn left 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.
From Wytheville, follow I-77 south towards Galax. Merge onto US 221 north towards Hillsville/ Floyd. 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.