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Buffalo Mountain: based in love, faith and overcoming

Updated: Apr 4

Virginia is for lovers, and Buffalo Mountain is for hiking. In the heart of the Blue Ridge Highlands, Buffalo Mountain stands 3,972 feet high like a charging buffalo.

Courtesy of VDCR

For years, the region remained untapped – there were few roads, no schools, and often no churches. Everyone who lived on the Buffalo and the surrounding areas were impoverished, and many fell into a life of alcoholism and crime.

For most people looking in, Buffalo Mountain seemed too wild to tame, and then came Bob Childress.

Childress grew up in a family with two alcoholics for parents and no role models. At six years old, he was able to attend school for the first time, despite protests from his father. For eight years, Childress attended school. After the school closed, he fell into the trap of Buffalo Mountain and found himself battling alcoholism and a gambling addiction.

After falling into the worst of his addiction, he found religion, then devoting his life to teaching God’s Word. Even after attending seminary and being offered a church and salary to preach out of the mountain, Childress went back to where everything started for him — he went back home.

Courtesy of Find a Grave

In a year, he traveled 40,000 miles around the mountain by car or mule to minister to the people of Buffalo, and he tamed what none had before.

Because of the actions of Bob Childress, Buffalo Mountain’s entire trajectory changed from a culture dominated by hate to one dominated by respecting and loving their fellow man. 

Today, the natural area preserve is largely recognized as one of Virginia’s greatest natural heritage treasures and is a place like no other. The half-mile hike consists of three trails and a beautiful view. The trek up the mountain provides prairie-like slopes of tall grasses and wildflowers. The mountain also boasts a wide variety of rare plants and wildlife.  

Public access facilities consist of a ten-car gravel parking lot, public bathroom, information station, easy-to-read signage and three hiking trails. The drive to the parking lot consists of a narrow .9-mile gravel road that has multiple shoulders in it to allow for cars to pass by. Ultimately, the drive to the mountain might be the hardest part of the journey.  

Courtesy of Blue Ridge Awaits

Buffalo Mountain enriches Appalachian history because it uplifts the story of hard-working individuals who overcame adversity. Today, the summit remains a favorite hiking destination by many because of its easy trek, family-friendly atmosphere and deep-rooted culture. Are you ready to conquer the Buffalo? Because it is waiting for you. 


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