Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (540) 635-5050 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission free (Canoe or Kayak rental fee) This site is available only for viewing wildlife from the river.
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Site MDS08: Bentonville to Front Royal River Loop
Elevation: 566 ft. The Shenandoah is renowned as one of America's great north-flowing rivers. Glimpses of its ancient and meandering beauty and wildlife are easily seen as the traveler passes along its banks near Front Royal. You can view the river from the low water bridge at Bentonville or float the 3.5 miles down to Shenandoah River-Guest State Park. Keep your eyes open because wildlife abounds in every direction. Along the banks, wading birds such as great blue and green herons share the varied shores with sunning eastern painted turtles, as well as otter, beaver and mink. At the right time of the year, the river banks abound with carpets of Virginia blue bells or showy cardinal flower that highlight the verdant and fertile river valley. On the water wood ducks mingle with Canada geese and mallards and overhead belted kingfishers rattle by. Occasionally an osprey or bald eagle will give free fishing lessons as they drop from the sky to snatch a panfish or smallmouth bass from just below the surface. A cruise along the river gives the visitor the time and perspective to enjoy the minutia of the river. Powdered dancer and American rubyspot damselflies delicately settle on twigs and rocks just above the surface. The larger dragonflies are a little more aggressive as they zoom past: widow skimmer, eastern pondhawk, common green darner, and eastern amberwing should all be expected.
From Hazard Mill Landing, return to Rt. 628 and turn left, heading west 1.0 mile to Rt. 613. The landing is located at the Rt. 613 river crossing. This site viewable only by boat.