Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: U.S. Forest Service–Wythe Ranger District Office, (276) 228-5551
- Site Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission free
- Visit Website
Site MBW06: Monster Rock Trail
Elevation: 3466 ft. Up until the mid-1970s, Monster Rock Trail was part of the Appalachian Trail (AT). However, in 1977 the AT was redirected through the Rich Valley to Garden Mountain and along the southern edge of Burke's Garden because of a lack of water along the ridgetop of Walker Mountain. The Monster Rock Trail can be followed until it joins with the Appalachian Trail near Crawfish Valley, and it is still maintained by the same group that maintains the AT. Most visitors, however, elect to travel just the three-quarters of a mile to Monster Rock from which the trail gets its name. The trail follows the ridge top, crossing through some moderately steep areas and passing a scenic overlook that looks north towards West Virginia. Oaks and maples dominate the forest here with numerous blackberry bushes in the undergrowth. Wildflowers include fire pink and colicroot as well as numerous flowering mountain laurels. Birds of the area include an array of songbirds typical of the forest habitat. The ridge top offers a great vantage point to view soaring raptors with turkey vultures being the most numerous. However, during migration any raptor found in Virginia could occur here.
This trail is located where US 52 crosses the Walker Mountain ridge. The trail begins at the western end of the parking area for Big Walker Lookout.