Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Divide Ranger District, (540) 552-4641
- Site Access: Free, Daily, Sunrise - Sunset
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Site MED05: Pandapas Pond
Elevation: 2196 ft. Pandapas Pond offers an 8-acre manmade pond that provides fishing, hiking, flat-water canoeing, and picnicking opportunities. A 1-mile loop trail, at an approximate elevation of 2200 feet, circles the lake and meanders through the surrounding Appalachian hardwoods and pines and some rhododendron thickets. In migration, this area can produce large numbers of warblers, including blackpoll and bay-breasted warblers. Nesting neotropical migrants are plentiful as well. Look for scarlet tanager, blue-headed vireo, blue-gray gnatcatcher, and hooded warbler, as well as typical eastern hardwood forest nesters such as wood thrush, ovenbird, and eastern wood-pewee. Residents of this area include great horned and barred owls, pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, and green heron. The first parking lot to the left off of FR 808 provides access to the Poverty Creek and Gap Mountain trails. Equestrian and cycling access is permitted here. These trails are extensive, and network with other U.S. Forest Service trails. These hardwood forests are home to similar bird species listed above, but are also home to a variety of non-avian wildlife. Look for eastern box turtles and white-tailed deer throughout this area. Amphibian lovers will enjoy spending time along Poverty Creek where green and pickerel frogs are numerous. In addition, turning over rocks in the creekbed can be fruitful for the naturalist in search of salamanders. Northern dusky and red-backed salamanders are common, but keep an eye out for the colorful northern red salamander.
From Deerfield Trail, return to US 460 West and turn left, continuing west on US 460 for 4.7 miles to FR 808. Turn left onto FR 808 and proceed 0.6 miles to the parking lot for Pandapas Pond.