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North Fork of the Pound & Phillips Creek Recreation Area


Elevation: 1611 ft. (water level).

The North Fork of the Pound includes 5000 acres of extensive lake and streamside habitat that can be enjoyed by nature enthusiasts at several locales. The lake may be of greater interest during migration when congregations of shorebirds and waterfowl are at their peak. However, only the Phillips Creek Recreation Area offers a complete trail that traverses a diversity of habitats. The Phillips Creek Loop Trail wanders through mature hemlock and hardwood forests, dense rhododendron thickets, and uphill towards oak and hickory woodlands, with the occasional presence of shortleaf or pitch pine. The trail forms a loop at about 1 mile. This site is perhaps best known for producing the elusive Swainson’s warbler during the breeding season. Look and listen for this bird along streamside rhododendron thickets. Other birds you’ll likely find along this trail in the summer include scarlet and summer tanagers, hooded, Kentucky, Canada, black-throated green, and black-throated blue warblers. During migration, neotropical passerines should be plentiful. This is also a good spot to look for salamanders. Turning over rocks and logs in moist forest floors or around water’s edge can produce northern slimy and northern dusky salamanders. Red eft crawl alongside colorful millipedes along the forest floors while their aquatic stage, the red-spotted newt, can be found in shallow edges of lakes, ponds, and streams.


From Cranes Nest River Trail, return west on SR 83 for 11.9 miles to US 23 BUS/Main Street, in Pound. Turn right on US 23 BUS/Main Street and follow it for 0.6 miles to Rt. 671. Crossing US Highway 23, turn left and travel west on Rt. 671 for 6.0 miles to Phillips Recreation Area. Access to other regions of the North Fork of the Pound (Wise Launch Area and Cane Patch Campground) can also be accessed nearby off this road. To access other sites on the North Fork of the Pound, such as Tailwater Area, Overlook Area, Pound Launch Area, and Laurel ForkTrail, follow Rt. 630 from US Hwy 23. Rt. 630 is located 0.8 miles further north of Rt. 671 off US 23.

To return to Norton and US 58 ALT, go back to US 23 and follow it 13.5 miles south to Norton. Continue the Trail by traveling the Appalachian Wonders Loop.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: 276-679-8370,
  • Website
  • Access: Daily within seasons noted, 10:00am-8:00pm; admission fee required at Pound Launch

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Hiking Trails
  • Parking
  • Restrooms