Take a look around and spot some of Bottom Creek Gorge's amazing plants and animals. View All
Download a map of Bottom Creek Gorge. Don't forget your binoculars! View All
Forming the headwaters of the Roanoke River, Bottom Creek Gorge boasts spectacular scenery: the second highest waterfall in Virginia, virgin hemlocks and hundreds of wildflowers.
Bottom Creek is a powerful mountain stream that forms a stair-step series of broad-basin waterfalls known as the "kettles." One of the headwater streams of the South Fork of the Roanoke River, Bottom Creek boasts a 200-foot high waterfall. Flanking Bottom Creek are forests of mixed hardwoods (tulip poplar, maple, oak, hickory) and upland meadows. Five rare species thrive in this habitat.
Open daily, dawn to dusk
More than five miles of accessible trails. There are no restrooms.
Bottom Creek Gorge is a hotbed for rare aquatic species. It contains three rare fish and one globally rare plant.
The Conservancy has improved the trails at Bottom Creek Gorge while reducing their impact on surrounding habitat. Researchers continue to monitor the rare species and Conservancy staff are working with adjacent private landowners on conservation easements.
Bottom Creek is critical habitat for four species of fish native to the headwaters of the Roanoke River: the orangefin madtom, the bigeye jumprock, the riverweed darter and the Roanoke darter. It also contains approximately 10 percent of all fish species known from Virginia, including native brook trout.
A half-acre shale barren provides habitat for the globally rare chestnut lipfern. Formerly known only from north-central Mexico to the southwestern United States, this lipfern occurs in isolated patches in southwestern Virginia and eastern West Virginia.
An old-growth hemlock forest rising from the north side of the creek remained largely untouched due to its inaccessibility. A mix of forest and field covers the rest of the preserve. Mixed hardwood stands of tulip poplar, maple, oak and hickory are complemented by several meadows and dense rhododendron thickets in ravines.
For information, contact the Virginia program office at (434) 295-6106.
Download a trail map of Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve (pdf, 167KB).
From Roanoke and points north:
From Blacksburg and Christiansburg: