Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (276) 328-2931, Clinch Ranger District
- Site Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission free
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Site MAW04: Little Stony National Recreation Trail
Elevation: 2244 ft.; 1485 ft., The Little Stony National Recreation Trail is a 2.8-mile trail with an upper trailhead at Falls of Little Stony Creek, and a lower trailhead at Hanging Rock Picnic Area (see directions above). It should also be noted that another trail, the Chief Benge Scout Trail originates at Hanging Rock as well. Chief Benge Scout Trail is an 18.7-mile trail that travels northwest to Bark Camp Lake, Edith Gap, and to the High Knob Tower and Recreation Area. The Little Stony National Recreation Trail follows Little Stony Creek through a 400-ft deep and 1700-ft wide gorge. Large outcrops, rock ledges, and boulders form the scenic edges along Stony Creek. In some areas of the trail, hikers will need to climb around/over boulders and large rocks to remain on the trail. A scenic 24-foot waterfall, along with two smaller waterfalls, gives this site its name. Though much of this region was logged during the early part of the twentieth century, cove hardwoods and hemlock forest cover much of this area. Mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets lace the edges of these trails in various areas, as well. This rock-bedded drainage of Little Stony Creek is excellent for finding Louisiana waterthrush in the summer. Blue-headed vireo and Swainson's warbler may also be spied along the trail. Several species of wood warblers and songbirds are common during the breeding season. In spring and fall, look for migrant thrushes, warblers, and tanagers.
From Guest River Gorge Trail, return to SR 72 South and turn left, traveling south 0.8 miles to Rt. 664. Turn right on Rt. 664 and follow it for 1.1 miles to FR 700 (this road is not labeled, so mark mileage!). Turn left on FR 700 and go 1.3 miles to FR 701. Turn left on FR 701; travel for 0.8 miles to Falls of Little Stony. To access the lower trailhead at Hanging Rock Picnic Area: From Rt. 664 and SR 72, continue on SR 72 South for 5.7 miles, towards the Town of Dungannon. Hanging Rock is on the right, at a sharp curve on SR 72. Turn right and travel 0.2 miles to parking area.