Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Site Contact: (540) 984-4101
  • Site Access: Daily Sunrise to Sunset
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Site MDS04B: Catherine Furnace, U.S. Forest Service


Elevation: 1050 ft. Built in 1840, Catherine Furnace began operation as one of several pig iron furnaces in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1865, it was bought by the William Milnes and operated, along with Big Gem, as part of the Shenandoah Iron Works. Today the large furnace stands as a 20 foot by 20 foot pyramid reminder of days when the sounds of industry filled the Valley. The furnace is located at the confluence of Roaring Run and Cub Run, both wild trout streams. This area is one of the top spots to see white-tailed deer and black bear, so be alert for any movement through the woods. During summer months, listen for wood thrush, and both yellow-billed and black-billed cuckoo. During early evening keep your ears pealed for the sound of whip-poor-will calling from the deeper woods. This area is also rich in woodpeckers. Northern flicker, red-bellied, pileated, hairy and downy are all documented near the Furnace. For those looking for warblers, hooded, Kentucky, pine, worm-eating, and black-and-white warblers are all known to occur hear along with northern parula, ovenbird, Louisiana waterthrush and American redstart.


From Big Gem Park turn right onto US 340 North. Continue back up US 340 North for 5.6 miles to Rt. 685/Newport Road. Turn left onto Rt. 685 and continue to the stop sign, approximately 1.2 miles. Turn left onto Katherine Furnace Road and enter the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Continue down this gravel road approximately 0.4 miles to Catherine Furnace on the right.

Loop Map