Overlook at Virginia's Bottom Creek Gorge.
Bottom Creek Overlook Overlook at Virginia's Bottom Creek Gorge. © Glenna Goldman / The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect | The Nature Conservancy

Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve

Virginia

Enjoy spectacular scenery and views of the second highest waterfall in Virginia.

COVID-19 Update (March 27, 2020)

TNC's public preserve in Virginia remain open. We ask all visitors to follow current health and safety precautions as directed by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others (social distancing).

Parking may be limited at many of our preserves. If parking areas are full please plan to return to the preserve another day.

Thank you for helping us in our efforts to protect our visitors' health and well being.

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One of the headwater streams of the South Fork of the Roanoke River, Bottom Creek is a powerful mountain stream that forms a stair-step series of broad-basin waterfalls known as "The Kettles." 

It's a hotbed for rare aquatic species, providing critical habitat for four native species of fish: 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.

Please note: fishing is not permitted in the preserve.

Bottom Creek Gorge has more than five miles of moderate trails. An old road takes hikers up a hill, and then there are three branches of trail. There are no restrooms.

Winter weather can impact road conditions. Visitors should be aware of the possibility of wash outs or large holes on the road leading into the preserve and can park on the road shoulder.

What to See: Plants

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.

Waterfall at Bottom Creek Gorge
Bottom Creek Gorge
Enjoy spectacular scenery and views of the second highest waterfall in Virginia.

Bottom Creek Gorge Spectacular scenery and the second highest waterfall in Virginia.

Additional Resources