The Essentials

Whitetop Laurel Falls

G Rating 5.0
WOW Factor 2

Plumb Rating 


Height: ~15' total


Distance: 1.0 mi (RT)



Sound: mp3 File
Video: Available

GPS and Map Details
Latitude:   36° 38.047' N
Longitude: 81° 44.941' W
Elevation:   ~2,140 ft
Face:         ~310° (NW)

Maps:  Topozone

Geocaches Nearby


Whitetop Laurel Falls


The Virginia Creeper Trail and Whitetop Laurel Falls



Photo Tips


Waterfall Posters



New Hampshire



Whitetop Laurel Falls

Damascus, Washington, Virginia

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Whitetop Laurel Falls on the Virginia Creeper Trail

Whitetop Laurel Falls (8/07/2007, 50 mm, f/22, 1/2 sec, ISO 100)


Whitetop Laurel Falls wasn't that impressive in and of itself, but combined with the Virginia Creeper Trail setting and picturesque bridge in the background I had to give this waterfall a solid 5 rating. 


Whitetop Laurel Creek drops a total of 15-20 feet here on its way down the mountain towards Damascus, VA.  Access is via the Virginia Creeper Trail by hiking, biking, or horseback.  Between Whitetop and Damascus, Virginia, the Creeper Trail follows several cascading mountain streams that can be quite photogenic at times. 


This waterfall also has a nearby geocache and is one of the eighteen in the Fallin' for Virginia Waterfalls series.


Also nearby is the Appalachian Trail.  Outdoor adventure does abound in the area. 


While I'm at it, let me mention a few more waterfalls in the vicinity - Straight Branch Falls, Mock's Mill, and Alvarado Rd Falls.


Getting There

From Damascus, VA, take US-58 East for around 4 miles.  Unfortunately I was winging it and didn't get the GPS coordinates for where I parked.  It was an unmarked pullover on the right side of the highway big enough for 3-4 cars and directly next to a Creeper Trail trestle for easy trail access.  From this parking point it is about 0.5 miles on up the Creeper Trail.


There is also a designated parking lot with toilet at:

N 36° 38.640 W 081° 44.375


However, this parking lot is past the waterfall and increases the distance to the waterfall to around 1 mile.



Hike Details

The hike or bike ride is on the Virginia Creeper Trail, an old railroad bed that has a very gradual grade and is well maintained.  Total distance depends on where you park.



Photo Tips

The stream is wide here and offset from the waterfall there is a nice, red bridge in the background so normal composition will be landscape.


Use a polarizing filter for sure to help with glare on the water and red bridge. 


Part of the area will probably be exposed and bright from sunlight.  I found my Canon to be overexposing a bit so I adjusted the exposure to -0.3.  Even then I had to tone down the glare on the rocks and waterfall in post processing using Photoshop.  It was manageable, however, and the light on the red bridge was nice.


Yes, I think a tripod is necessary unless you visit in the Spring and there is heavy flow.  Even then I would use a tripod. 


Ok, where to shoot.  Options are few and maybe fewer in the Spring when water levels are higher.  I was able to climb down the rocks to the left side and had a relatively flat ledge on which to shoot at water level.  It worked out nicely with the bridge in the background.  it's probably the primo spot although I honestly didn't look further.




Here you go.




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