Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (276) 783-4860
- Site Access: Daily. Hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or access permit required.
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Site MCM03: Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area
Elevation: 2184 ft. Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) encompasses 25,477 acres of mountain forest along Clinch Mountain and spans elevations from 2200 feet along Big Tumbling Creek to its highest point at 4700 feet on Beartown Mountain. The WMA possesses a variety of habitats, attractive to a diversity of wildlife. The naturalist can wander through mature-growth forests, predominantly wooded by oak and hickory, rhododendron thickets, beaver ponds, a lake, meadows, shrublands, managed forests and prescribed burns, and even red spruce forest atop Beartown Mountain. The woodlands hold typical eastern hardwood breeders, such as wood thrush, and eastern wood-pewee. As elevation increases, so does the assortment of nesting avian species within these woodlands. Visitors should look for black-throated blue, black-throated green, chestnut-sided, cerulean, and magnolia warblers. Also keep an eye out for blue-headed vireo, rose-breasted grosbeak, and veery. Herp-lovers will enjoy 24 species of reptiles and 30 species of amphibians, including green and four-toed salamanders. With a list of 51 mammal species, visitors are encouraged to keep an eye out for black bear, red fox, white-tailed deer, beaver, mink, southern flying squirrel, Appalachian and eastern cottontails, and little brown and big brown bats. This extensive area provides unlimited wildlife-watching potential. Birders may want to hike into an area called the Muck Cove. In the summer, the Muck can be particularly productive for birders in search of golden-winged warbler.
From Saltville Well Fields, return to SR 91. Turn right onto SR 91 and follow it for 0.2 miles to Rt. 634/Allison Gap Road. Turn left on Rt. 634/Allison Gap Road and proceed 1.3 miles to Rt. 613/Poor Valley Road. Turn left on Rt. 613/Poor Valley Road, continuing for another 3.8 miles to Rt. 747/Tumbling Creek Road. Turn right on Rt. 747/Tumbling Creek Road and travel for an additional 2.0 miles to the wildlife management area headquarters.