Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MED07: War Spur Trail
Elevation: 3675 ft. The War Spur area offers access to several trails along Salt Pond Mountain, including War Branch Trail, Chestnut Trail, Appalachian Trail, War Spur Overlook Trail, and Virgin Timber Trail. Unique attributes of this area include the numerous stands of virgin hemlock, red spruce, and pines. Other site habitats a naturalist may want to explore include streamside rhododendron thickets, moss-covered rock outcrops, eastern hardwood forests, moist woodland understory blanketed with delicate ferns, and awe-inspiring overlook views of surrounding mountains and valleys. The old-growth forests situated along this mountaintop are particularly productive for birders in search of nesting neotropical high-elevation species such as winter wren, veery, black-capped chickadee, golden-crowned kinglet, cerulean and Blackburnian warblers, and rose-breasted grosbeak. The elevation within this area ranges from 3100 to 3800 feet. In red spruce stands, look and listen for flocks of red crossbill. American woodcock may be found along forested streams, but are more easily spied in late February as they begin their mating displays. Ruffed grouse are also common, and, in the summer, one may find adults foraging with young fledglings following close behind. The streams and moist, mossy understory are ideal for housing salamanders. Beneath logs and rocks, one may steal a glance at northern dusky, mountain dusky, red-backed, or northern slimy salamanders.
From Mountain Lake Resort, near the intersection of Rt. 700/Mountain Lake Road and Rt. 613, go north on Rt. 613 for 3.1 miles to War Spur Trail on the right.