A leftover piece of geology from Black Mountain shoves Laurel Fork left, then right, then drops it into a pool, a beautifully oval pool measuring 55 feet on the major axis and 30 feet on the minor axis. It isn’t as deep as it might otherwise be since a wall on the river left is jagged and creates rock fall that produces much of the boulder clutter in the bottom of the pool.
The beach will average less than 1,000 square feet. Not lots of comfy seating, maybe one dozen rocks large enough and flat enough to sit on comfortably, but no place really to enjoy an entire afternoon reclining. The fall faces southeast and the canyon has lots of open sky, most notably toward a dramatic spire of rock named Potato Top which rises a couple of hundred feet above the creek. It gives the sense of being in a much deeper, more remote canyon.
This place gets visited. It’s right by the Appalachian Trail. It’s only a good swimming hole. No jumps and seating is limited. But it has a good sense of enclosure and nice rock surrounding. It’s a worthy side trip if you’re hiking the AT.