The Laurels Picnic Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

View of The Laurels Picnic Area in Cherokee National Forest

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 1930s. Today, it is a popular day-use area, providing a nice shady place for family picnics and group gatherings.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: The Pavilions are open.  
Operational Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Reservations: Logo
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Parking
Fees There is no fee for general picnicking in the area. Groups may reserve a pavilion for their group gatherings online at
Open Season: 3/15/2021 - 10/12/2021
Restrictions: Day use only, no overnight camping allowed. Alcohol prohibited on site. No burning of plastic or other non-wood products except charcoal in grills.
Closest Towns: Unicoi, TN
Water: None
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions: From Johnson City, take I-181 south to Okalona exit. Turn left, drive under I-181 to TN 359. Turn left, back toward Johnson City for 0.2 miles. Turn right onto TN 359. Travel 1.4 miles, then turn right onto TN 361 for 3.7 miles to The Laurels.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Picnic tables
Interpretive Site
Fee charged for some activities

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