HOW TO GET THERE
A guide to birding some of the hot spots in Roanoke, Botetourt
County and surrounding areas.
This guide is meant to assist the unfamiliar to a few good birding spots in the
area. In the earlier versions I had a lot of help from Mike
Smith and I thank him for it. For the first revision I had
John and Eunice Hudgins to thank for their assistance in
Jim Ayers (Revised 2003)
Now, with Jim’s blessing, I have attempted
to bring this marvelous document up to date with the help
of fellow Roanoke Valley Bird Club members: Mike Donahue,
Mike Purdy, Kent Davis, Alyce Quinn and Robin Austin.
Eunice C. Hudgins, 2009
CARVIN’S COVE BOAT LANDING, ROANOKE
DIRECTIONS: Take Rt. 11 (Williamson
Rd.) north of Roanoke 1.6 miles north of the intersection
of Williamson and Peters Creek Roads, turn left on Rt. 648
2.6 miles to the boat landing parking lot. You must go to
the boat landing building and pay a fee which the city requires
for use of the recreational area. Land use hours are 6 AM
to 10 PM (April thru September) and 8 AM to 7 PM (October
GENERAL INFORMATION: The trail system and service roads are
available for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The terrain
is moderately to steeply sloped. For the enjoyment of all
visitors, trail users are asked to be courteous; bikers should
yield to hikers; bikers and hikers should yield to horseback
riders. All trail users must stay on trails and service roads
at all times.
This area can be productive in all
seasons. In spring and summer for migrants and summer breeders,
in fall for migrants and permanent residents, and in winter
for permanent residents such as owls, woodpeckers, nuthatches,
chickadees, titmice, juncos, etc. Rare and unusual birds
found over the years include Red Crossbills, Snow Buntings,
White-rumped Sandpipers, White Pelicans, Bald and Golden
Eagles, Northern Goshawks, Merlins, Red-necked Grebes, Red-throated
Loons, White-winged Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Caspian,
Forster’s, Common and Black Terns, Laughing, Bonaparte’s
and Great Black-backed Gulls, and Little Blue Herons – to
name a few.
HOW TO BIRD IT: Park near the left
end of the lot and go out on the wooden “deck” for good views
of the lake. Scan the surface for waterfowl, trees on the
shoreline for hawks, and the sky above for hawks and incoming
waterfowl. Patience often is rewarded by arrivals and birds
passing over the lake. There is a trail from the left end
of the lot which follows the shoreline to a good view of
the dam in the distance (this trail actually goes all the
way to the dam). The best trail is at the other side of the
lot – a fire trail that goes through the picnic area and
generally follows the shoreline for some six miles to the
Bennett Springs end of the cove. Walk, bike or ride your
horse as much of this as you like. The trail is “hilly” but
is fairly easy walking.
ARCADIA AREA, BOTETOURT COUNTY
DIRECTIONS: Take I-81 north of Roanoke
past Buchanan to Arcadia exit #168. Turn right onto Rt. 614
for 1.5 mile to the bridge over the river James. Park on
the right on far side of bridge.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This area has at least seven great spots
(directions, etc. to follow). Six mountain streams join one
another and flow into the James River at Arcadia.
McFalls Creek and Middle Creek merge
with Jennings Creek, Cornelius Creek and Apple Orchard Creek
join to form North Creek which flows into Jennings Creek
which goes into the James River at Arcadia. It is a paradise
in spring and early summer. Summer and fall are good, but
winter is not recommended.
1) JAMES RIVER BRIDGE AT ARCADIA:
HOW TO BIRD IT: In spring and early summer, park, look and
listen. The trees and bushes on both sides of the road
usually yield such species as orioles, Warbling Vireos,
Indigo Buntings, Field Sparrows, Brown Thrashers, etc.
Walk down to the river and check the trees along the bank
for Bald Eagles (yep, seen in May 2009), Yellow-throated
Warblers, orioles, American Goldfinches, etc. (Do not walk
in the pastures – this is private property.) Watch the
fields and hedge rows for Chipping Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds,
etc. Check the sky frequently for hawks or migrating Ospreys.
Continue .6 miles to the Jennings Creek Bridge. Park on
the right just over the bridge and check for Warbling Vireos,
swallows, Yellow Warblers, orioles (great spot for Orchard
Orioles), etc. Another .6 miles brings you to the now abandoned
Arcadia Store (its famous Arcadia Subs but a faded memory;
however, a recent attempt at renovations indicate it may
reopen). This is another good spot for orioles, Yellow
2) SOLITUDE: Just past the store,
turn left on Rt. 622 and go 1.5 miles to Solitude Swamp on
your right (sorry, no sign). This is a woodland swamp which
has yielded Wood Ducks, Prothonotary Warblers, Louisiana
and Northern Waterthrushes, Wood Thrushes (and one record
of Swainson’s Warbler!). On the left it is productive to
scan over the river for swallows and check the wires for
Blue Grosbeaks. Continue on this road and you may hear and
see Yellow-breasted Chats, Prairie Warblers, Brown Thrashers,
etc. The road dead-ends at a gate, so turn around and go
back the way you came.
3) JENNINGS CREEK: Turn left on Rt.
614 and drive slowly up Jennings Creek, listening for Louisiana
Waterthrushes, Eastern Phoebes, Northern Parula Warblers,
etc., stopping along the way to enjoy the beautiful mountain
stream and scenery.
4) MCFALLS CREEK: Continue on Rt.
614 about 3.5 miles to Rt. 618. Turn right along McFalls
Creek. Rt. 618 goes all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway
at Powell’s Gap. The best birding is along the creek before
the road begins to climb upward. Listen for Northern Parula
Warblers and Louisiana Waterthrushes. There are foot trails
from time to time on the left which are great to explore
as well. Much of the area to the right is private property
and seriously posted. Just as the road begins to climb up
the mountain there is a road to the left which makes a good
turn around spot.
5) NORTH CREEK: Backtrack on Rt. 618
to Rt. 614 and then 3.l miles to the National Forest Camp
Ground, North Creek road. Turn right and go up North Creek.
Or, if you didn’t go to McFalls Creek and are coming from
the Arcadia store, turn left at the campground sign (.4 miles
from Jennings Creek Bridge). Every foot of this road is great
birding. Look and listen for Louisiana Waterthrushes, Northern
Parulas, Black-throated Green and Pine Warblers. Good stops
along the way include Colon Hollow Shelter (it has an outhouse)
and Whitetail Trail on your left and several unnamed trails
on your right (including the Travel Trailer Sanitary Station,
usually a good spot for Northern Parula Warblers). Continue
on North Creek Road for 4.9 miles to a parking area at the
end of the road where Apple Orchard and Cornelius Creeks
join to create North Creek. North Creek is one of the most
beautiful trout streams in Virginia. Great experiences are
everywhere with wildflowers, birds, ferns, etc. From the
parking area, walk back along the road .5 miles to a gated fire trail to your left. This takes
you gradually up above the creek and you can look down into
the canopy at the birds (such as Black-throated Green Warblers).
You could also encounter Wild Turkeys or Ruffed Grouse. In
early May you may be overwhelmed by thick banks of Fringed
Polygala (Gaywings). Walk as far as you like up this trail.
It eventually peters out after about 2 miles. For some reason,
I call this North Creek Trail. Back at the parking area there
is a set of footbridges and a fine trail up to Apple Orchard
Falls which offers great spring and summer birding.
6) WARBLER ROAD: From the end of North
Creek Road, backtrack 2.1 miles to the first road on your
right. This is called Pine Mountain Road and leads up to
the Blue Ridge Parkway at Sunset Fields Overlook (milepost
79). This is known as Warbler Road because over the years
it has been possible on a good day in May to experience some
25 species of warblers from the intersection of North Creek
Road and Pine Mountain Road to Sunset Fields Overlook. Drive
slowly up this curvy but otherwise excellent dirt road, stopping
whenever you hear or see something of interest. In addition
to warblers there could be Scarlet Tanagers, Red-eyed and
Blue-headed Vireos, Dark-eyed Juncos, Wild Turkeys, Ruffed
Grouse, Indigo Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, etc. There
are also wonderful wildflowers on the banks beside the road
and bobcats have been seen crossing the road! At the top
of the first ridge (2.75 miles from North Creek Road) you
will come to a stop sign with options to go to Cave Mountain
Lake or to the Parkway. You want to go right toward the Parkway on Rt. 812. Stop often as the elevation
and habitat change. Park in the turnouts and walk the road
a bit in both directions. Keep your eyes and ears open and
check everything out. Even though Warbler Road is probably
only 9 miles long, you will want to allow plenty of time
to enjoy everything it has to offer.
7) PARKER’S GAP AND APPLE ORCHARD
FALLS TRAIL: At 3.2 miles up Warbler Road you will come to
a sign on the left saying, “Parker’s Gap” (frequently obscured
by vegetation). Turn right down the road opposite the sign
(if you can’t find the sign, this is the only right turn
in the neighborhood). There is excellent birding along this
road with opportunities in the past for Chestnut-sided Warblers
and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. This area was heavily logged
in the late 1980’s and is still transitioning to mature woodlands.
At the end of this road (2 miles) there is a turn-around
and places to park. There is a trail at the end of the road
which takes you 25 to 30 feet or so to a well-blazed trail
up to Apple Orchard Falls and Sunset Fields. The 1-2 mile
stretch up to the falls is moderately strenuous and requires
waterproof footwear or a casual attitude about wet feet.
You won’t see or hear too many birds (Northern Parula Warblers
singing in the trees over your head and nesting Eastern Phoebes
perhaps under the falls) but the falls are very impressive, especially in a wet season. Backtrack
to Rt. 812 and continue 3 miles up to the Parkway at Sunset
Fields. Along the way you could encounter Cerulean, Hooded,
Worm-eating, Kentucky, Black-and-white, Pine, and Blackpoll
Warblers, Ovenbirds and many American Redstarts. There is
a nice little waterfall on the left along the way and Black-throated
Warblers nest in the neighborhood. Chestnut-sided Warblers
are fairly predictable at Sunset Fields. Just before you
hit the asphalt of the overlook, there is a road sharply
off to the left which parallels the Parkway almost to the
top of Apple Orchard Mountain. This is Veery country and
has been a very reliable area for Canada Warblers. The road
ends for you at a gate with a fairly good turn-around opportunity.
This is a worthwhile side trip for birds, ferns and wildflowers.
Take the Parkway to the right (south) to return to Roanoke.
If it’s early June you’ll catch the spectacular rhododendron
show that begins about 7 miles from Sunset Fields.
HARVEY’S KNOB, BOTETOURT COUNTY
DIRECTIONS: From Roanoke take Rt.
460 east to the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance on the right.
Go north on the Parkway to milepost 92.2, Harvey’s Knob Overlook
on your left.
HOW TO BIRD IT: In early to mid September, pack your lawn
chair and lunch and tool on up the Parkway for a day of watching
migrating hawks. Park at the upper end of the lot or on the
right side. You will more than likely have company, especially
on the weekend, and they will gladly share their birding
techniques. Of course, you’ll be looking generally into the
northern sky, so take an eye shade and suntan lotion. The
gnats can be troublesome so some insect repellent is suggested.
As the Hawk Lady (Myriam Moore 1912-2006) said, “The passage
of Broad-winged Hawks builds up in early September to peak
usually between the second and third week of September. More
than 1900 hawks have been sighted in a day. More Ospreys
pass in September. The Sharp-shinned Hawks passage builds
up as broadwings taper off. Migrating Red-tailed Hawks peak
in November. There are also sightings of Cooper’s and Red-shouldered
Hawks, Northern Harriers, and American Kestrels.” Rarities
include Peregrine Falcons, Rough-legged Hawks, Goshawks,
Merlins, Sandhill Cranes, American White Pelicans, Anhingas,
Townsend’s Solitaires (first state record), Red Crossbills,
Cave Swallows, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Orange-crowned Warblers
and Mississippi Kites. Bald and Golden Eagles have become
more and more common in recent years. Hawkwatching is best
in September and October. November is exhilarating. The spring
migration in March and April is less spectacular but a good
way to pass the days just before the thrilling passerine
influx. For more information about Harvey’s, check out http://bijame.googlepages.com/home.
BENT MOUNTAIN AND POOR MOUNTAIN, ROANOKE
DIRECTIONS: Take Rt. 221 south out
of Roanoke and go up Bent Mountain. At the top of the mountain
take Rt. 612 to the right. This will take you to the top
of Poor Mountain. Good birding exists all along this road
in spring and early summer.
HOW TO BIRD IT: Before you start the climb up Poor Mountain
you will wind through beautiful, lush high elevation farmland
with abundant bird life. The road up the mountain is steep
and there aren’t really too many pull-offs, so you may want
to go directly to the top, turn left on Honeysuckle Road
(Rt. 916) and bird the plateau. This area usually supports
a number of Chestnut-sided Warblers. Parking and walking
the road and side roads to your right can be fruitful, but
stay on the road as this area supports a number of rattlesnakes
as well. The road curves to the right and starts down the
south side of Poor Mountain. There is good birding down this
road, but be aware that the road is blocked about half way
down and you must retrace your steps. Species frequently
nesting along this road include Black-throated Blue, Canada,
and Black-throated Green Warblers. At the higher elevation,
you may also encounter Veeries, Wild Turkeys and Ruffed Grouse.
Poor Mountain is recommended for spring and summer birding
primarily. No one goes much in fall, and winter is not recommended.
The Bottom Creek area is another attractive
birding spot in this neighborhood. Backtrack to Rt. 221 and
turn right to Rt. 711. Turn right again to the Bent Mountain
HOW TO BIRD IT: There is a large swampy area behind the school
with a path to the left and a boardwalk to the right which
gets you out into the swamp. This area has been good for
Willow Flycatchers as well as Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats,
Gray Catbirds, etc. From the school parking lot, turn right
on Rt. 711 and then left on Bottom Creek Road (Rt. 607).
At first the habitat is basic farmland but eventually you
turn right on Bottom Creek Lane (Rt. 637) and enter a beautiful
stretch with the creek to your left. There are old camps
along the creek as it rushes through rhododendron and laurel
thickets. About 2 miles from this area you come to the Nature
Conservancy Bottom Creek Gorge site. This road to your right
is gated about 100 yards in and signage there indicates that
you are welcome to hike into the reserve. The trail leads
eventually to a spectacular waterfall as Bottom Creek falls
into a deep gorge. I believe good boots and strong legs are
helpful here. Backtrack the way you came to Rt. 221.
DALEVILLE POND, BOTETOURT COUNTY
DIRECTIONS: Take I-81 north to exit
150-B to Daleville. About .5 miles past Daleville, take a
left on Rt.675 (Glebe Road) and go about another .5 miles
to Rt. 1035 (Orchard Lake Drive). Turn right and go about
another .5 miles to the pond on your left.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A 12 acre pond now completely surrounded
by residential development, this has been an excellent duck
pond with surrounding habitat that attracted in spring and
summer: flycatchers, orioles, Yellow Warblers, Eastern Kingbirds,
American Woodcocks, Ospreys, both ibis, various egrets, both
bitterns, rails and herons and was the site of the last known
record of a Bewick’s Wren. It has become less and less productive
due to residential development and an extensive carp population
which have taken their toll. This has been good in all seasons.
It is included here more for its historical and nostalgic
value than anything else. However, sometimes when a door
closes a window opens and recently a new residential development
has opened up near the creek end of the pond.
HOW TO BIRD IT: When you reach the pond on your left, continue
around the bend in the road, turn right on Fairview Drive
and park on the right shoulder. Walk back and check out the
pond and surrounding trees and shrubbery. As you return to
your car, check the hedgerow to the right along the creek
which has been excellent for sparrows in the fall as well
as a couple of migrating Connecticut Warblers. Continue on
Fairview Drive to the right (Rt. 1046 - a loop road) to the
top of the hill and check out the pond on your right (a scope
is needed here). As you drive around, check out the surrounding
fields and trees – numerous hawks have been seen in this
ROANOKE SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT (STP),
(A.K.A. “WATER POLLUTION CONTROL PLANT”)
DIRECTIONS: In Roanoke City, take
the Elm Avenue Exit off of I-581 and head east on Elm (Rt.
24). Go .8 miles to 13th Street and turn right on 13th (watch
for signs, “Water Pollution Control Plant”). Go another .8
miles to Carlisle Avenue (the first street after the bridge
over the Roanoke River) and turn left onto Brownlee Avenue.
There are two plant entrances from Brownlee (both are on
the left). The facility can be accessed at the second entrance
off of Brownlee. This entrance has a secured gate equipped
with a call box to obtain access. Upon calling in to the
main desk, simply inform them that you are coming in to bird
the site. Paved parking is available at the Main Administration
GENERAL INFORMATION: The facility requires permits (at no
cost) for birding the facility. There are two permit options
available, either temporary or permanent, available at the
main office. Normal access hours are Monday through Friday
from 7 AM until 5 PM. (Although the facility is open until
5 PM, you must turn in your admittance badge and vacate the
property by 4:30 PM.) Saturday and Sunday outings can be
arranged, but you must contact the facility (540-853-1283)
at least 48 hours in advance.
HOW TO BIRD IT: After parking, you will need to bird on foot.
The primary walking areas are packed gravel roads which are
relatively flat. Check out the large 30 million gallon concrete
basin on your left for ducks (in season), Killdeer and shorebirds.
Walk the other dikes to check out the biosolids storage lagoons.
Under no circumstances should you walk out on any of the
lagoons, even if they appear dry. The material is frequently
over 10 feet deep. At the far east end, past the lagoon on
the right, there are two patches which can be interesting.
To the right takes you up the hill to another pond which,
in season, has Great Blue Herons and some ducks (and one
time a Least Bittern). From the main building, walk straight
back to the river, turn left and follow the path to a metal
bridge across the river. Walk out on this bridge to get great
looks up and down the river and into the tree tops (great
for early morning in the spring). There is a gate at the
far end of the bridge, so you cannot actually cross the
river. Back on the path, you can continue walking all the
way to Niagara Dam, but this path is not used regularly,
so bird emptor! The STP has been productive in all seasons.
MURRAY’S POND (WATERFALL LAKE), ROANOKE
DIRECTIONS: Take Rt. 11 (Williamson
Road) north of Roanoke just past Hollins University about
1.6 miles north of the intersection of Williamson Road and
Peters Creek Road to Rt. 601 (Shadwell Drive) on your right.
Turn right and go about .25 miles and you will see the pond
on your left. Turn left at the Waterfall Lake sign (don’t
bother to look for the waterfall).
HOW TO BIRD IT: Park off the road on your left at the top
of the first hill. Scan the water and surrounding trees and
bushes. This has been an important pond in the history of
bird study in Roanoke and Botetourt counties. Despite the
heavy residential development around it, it still is host
to numerous species of ducks and other waterfowl in season.
The area near the shore down the grassy hill from where you
are parked has some outdoor furniture and is a “common” area
for the home owners. Birders have been made to feel welcome
to walk down to the pond side for a better view to the far
end of the pond. Just be sure to stay in the common area
so as not to trespass on private property.
MILL MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND AND CHESTNUT
RIDGE, ROANOKE CITY
DIRECTIONS: From downtown Roanoke
at the corner of Campbell Avenue and Jefferson Street take
Jefferson Street south to Walnut Avenue. Turn left on Walnut
and proceed up Mill Mountain. At the top there is the proverbial
“fork” in the road. Take the left tine and go about 1 mile
to the campground on your right.
HOW TO BIRD IT: In spring and summer take the RV loop and
you will find places to park and trails that wind through
the woods at various points. In season this can be a great
spot for migrating Swainson’s Thrushes, various warblers,
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, etc. After migration, there are
usually nesting American Redstarts, Black-and-white Warblers,
etc. If you leave the campground and turn right you will
come immediately to an overlook on your left with an exhibit
describing several trails. This is fairly productive considering
the dry, monotypic habitat. Both the campground and Chestnut
Ridge can be interesting in all seasons, although spring
and early summer are best.
MILL MOUNTAIN PARK, ROANOKE CITY
DIRECTIONS: Backtrack to the “fork”
in the road and go left into Mill Mountain Park. As one club
member remarked, “I think this may be Roanoke’s best kept
secret in regard to seeing spring migrants such as Blackburnian,
Cerulean, Yellow, Palm and Worm-eating Warblers, thrushes,
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers, etc. It’s one
of those places that really should be birded first thing
in the morning.” An Olive-sided Flycatcher was seen here
HOW TO BIRD IT: From the parking lot, walk to the observation
tower and scan for hawks or bird activity in the trees and
bushes below you. From here work the edges to left and right.
Downhill to the left has always seemed best and you can bird
down along the old road as far as you like. The wildflower
garden is also good as is the lower road up to the STAR.
WOODPECKER RIDGE NATURE CENTER, BOTETOURT
DIRECTIONS: Take Rt. 11 north of Roanoke
to Troutville. Turn right at the Bank of Botetourt (Stoney
Battery Road) and go approximately 1 mile to the top of the
hill. Turn left at 941 Stoney Battery Road and you will be
at Woodpecker Ridge. This is a privately owned seventy acre
nature center made available to nature lovers by owner, Barry
Kinzie. (Please respect Barry’s privacy and refrain from
birding around his home.)
HOW TO BIRD IT: Park on the right or left near the “map sign”
and covered information box. The map will show the many trails
available to you and the locations of major features including
hawk watch platforms and pond areas. WRNC is good in all
seasons. In spring and early summer it is a migration hot
spot, especially in early morning. Also, hummingbird feeders
are abundant and well-filled. In fall and winter there are
four main feeder stations with lots of feeders which are
kept full by center volunteers. Some unusual birds seen here
are Sandhill Cranes, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Rufous Hummingbirds,
Northern Goshawks, and Philadelphia Vireos. This is also
a great place to observe wildflowers and butterflies in the
spring. WRNC is affiliated with the Roanoke Valley Bird Club,
the Lynchburg Bird Club and the Wildflower Preservation Society.
GREENFIELD, BOTETOURT COUNTY
DIRECTIONS: From the intersection
of Rt. 11 and Rt. 220, go north on Rt. 220 toward Fincastle
and go 3.5 miles to Rt. 839 at the “Botetourt Center at Greenfield”
sign. Turn left and park in the parking area on your right.
(There is another parking area further into the area around
to your right.)
HOW TO BIRD IT: A spotting scope will come in handy here.
On the left side of the pond there is a wooden bridge leading
to a very well-kept path that follows the edge of the pond
all the way to the dam. On the right of the pond, walk the
path toward the dam which gives access to a hill from which
you can see the entire pond, including a wetland area to
the right. This pond has been excellent for ducks and waterfowl
in season and the trees lining the input creek are good for
orioles and warblers in spring and early summer. Some exciting
observations include Red-necked Grebes, Tundra Swans, Snow
Geese, American Bitterns, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Merlins,
and numerous sparrow species including Vesper and Lincoln’s.
If the water is low and mudflats are exposed, look for shorebirds
in spring and fall. Shorebirds seen here include Black-bellied
Plovers, Sanderlings, Dunlins, Common Snipes, Greater and
Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers and Soras.
Also, Rusty Blackbirds are sometimes attracted to
the exposed mudflats. Be aware that many area residents walk
their dogs here, so you might have some company.
MARTIN’S LANE, BOTETOURT COUNTY
DIRECTIONS: From the intersection
of Rt. 11 and Rt. 220, go north on Rt. 220 toward Fincastle.
Go 10.5 miles through Fincastle to Rt. 679 (Martin’s Lane)
and turn right. This is a very productive loop in all seasons
with varied rural habitat and featuring a portion of Catawba
HOW TO BIRD IT: Drive slowly and stop at wide spots and pull-offs.
There are ponds off to the right and varied farmland on both
sides of the road. Scan the sky and the trees around the
fields for hawks. At 1.1 miles there is a “fork” in the road
where you want to turn left on Poor Farm Road. At 1.4 miles
there is a pull-off (actually an old gated entrance to the
farm) to the right at a large stand of maturing hardwoods
where Red-headed Woodpeckers are often found. In winter this
is a great loop for White-crowned, White-throated, and Field
Sparrows, etc. The loop ends at Rt. 220, a total of 2.9 miles.
Turn left to return to Fincastle.
THE LOCHER TRACT, ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY
DIRECTIONS: From the junction of Rt.
11 and Rt. 130 in Natural Bridge, take Rt. 130 east 2.5 miles
to Rt. 759 (Arnold’s Valley Road). Turn right and proceed
1 mile to Rt. 782 (James River Road). Turn left onto Rt.
782 which becomes Forest Road 3093; a parking area is at
the road’s end.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The exceptionally beautiful Locher Tract,
bordered on the north by the James River and by the James
River Face National Wilderness on the south, offers river
frontage, old fields, pasture fields, hardwood forest, and
beaver swamp for uncrowded wildlife viewing.
HOW TO BIRD IT: From the parking area, hike along the Balcony
Falls Trail in early mornings or late afternoons in spring
or summer for a chance to see Carolina Chickadees, White-breasted
Nuthatches, Eastern Bluebirds, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, bitterns
and Wild Turkeys. There is also a mowed loop trail through
the area. The James River Face Wilderness is 1.6 miles away.
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