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Whitetop Laurel Fishing and Viewing Area


Elevation: 2685 ft.

Whitetop Laurel Creek flows from Mt. Rogers down into the Holston River. At the Whitetop Laurel Fishing and Viewing Area, the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail converge, providing easy access to the surrounding forests. The creek runs through dense rhododendron thickets with old white pine towering over the creek banks. The trails and overlooks that are found along the course of the stream are excellent vantage points to look for trout, which often come close to the surface from the deeper pools along the stream. Walk the trail along the creek checking the creekside brush for Louisiana waterthrush, which can often be seen flying along the creek. These birds are often joined by Carolina wren, which also frequent streamside brush. Looking higher into the trees, black-throated blue and black-and-white warblers and warbling vireos can be found. Listen for calls from all directions—the sounds of Carolina chickadees ring through the forest. The trails in this area are relatively open and flanked by numerous wildflowers including bee-balm. Spicebush and eastern tiger swallowtails are easily visible as they cruise the paths, while smaller butterflies, like eastern-tailed hairstreak, require a more careful look.


  • SR-728/Creek Junction Rd is unpaved and rough. Use caution if driving in a low-clearance vehicle.


Physical Coordinates: 36.64794, -81.67137

From Damascus, head east on US-58/Douglas Dr/J.E.B. Stuart Hwy, sharp right onto SR-728/Creek Junction Rd, and follow it to the parking area.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: US Forest Service Mount Rogers National Recreation Area District Office, 276-783-5196,
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset

Seasonal Bird Observations


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