The Laurels Picnic Area Pavilions has closed for the season. The Laurels has been a popular area since the early days in East Tennessee. It was a common evening stopover for farmers from North Carolina taking produce to markets in Johnson City. The site is named for the native Rhododendron that thrives in the area, locally called "laurel." The Civilian Conservation Corps helped construct the current facilities in the early 1930's. Today, it is a popular day-use area, providing a nice shady place for family picnics and group gatherings.
The Laurels includes two picnic pavilions, numerous tables, grills, a bear-proof dumpster, and connected by foot paths. There is a vault toilet on site. There is no potable water.
The Laurels Picnic Area Pavilions has closed for the season, and plans to re-open on Monday, March 20, 2023.
Be Bear Wise: Never leave food out on tables or in the open. Store unattended food in bear-resistant containers, in a vehicle in solid non-pliable material, or suspend food at least 12 feet off the ground. Remember to use the bear resistant dumpster provided at this facility. Please adhere to the Cherokee National Forest Food and Refuse Storage Requirements 36 CFR 261.58 (cc) . Visit the Cherokee National Forest website or The Laurels Picnic Area webpage of the Cherokee National Forest website for more information.
Pavilion #1 is adjacent to the parking area. Pavilion #2 is accessed by an uneven path and bridge that crosses the creek.
There is little cell phone coverage in the area.
Pavilions are cleaned by 10:00 a.m. the day of a reservation. Please make your own arrangements if you plan to use the site before 10:00 a.m.
If your group size will be 75 people or more, please call the Watauga Ranger District at 423-735-1500 to apply for a special use permit.
All pets must be on a 6' leash at all times. Owners must pick up after their pets, and all pet waste disposed of properly.
It is your responsibility to read, know, understand, and follow all day-use area specific rules and regulations which are posted at the day-use area.
Honeycomb Creek flows through the picnic area and is enjoyed by kids of all ages on warm summer days.
The Laurels has two pavilions, each with picnic tables and grills. An old foot path meanders through the nearby woods.
4400 Unicoi Drive Unicoi Tennessee 37692
For campground inquiries, please call: 423-735-1500
The Laurels is located on TN Hwy 361 near Sciota Road in Carter County.
From Johnson City, take I-26 E to Okalona exit. Turn left, drive under I-26 to TN 359. Turn right onto TN 359. Travel 1.4 miles, then turn right onto TN 361 for 3.7 miles to The Laurels.