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Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Site Contact: (540) 984-4101, jsmalls@fs.fed.us
  • Site Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission free
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Site MFR11: Elizabeth Furnace

Description

Elevation: 740 ft. The Elizabeth Furnace area provides a glimpse back in history to the early technologies of iron production. The trails around the picnic and day use area take the visitor through mixed deciduous woodlands along the banks of Passage Creek, as well as show the remains of the iron furnace from which Elizabeth Furnace gets its name. These woods are home to many woodland species. In late summer, once most birds have finished breeding, several species will group together and forage in small flocks. These flocks are often identified by the familiar sounds of characteristic species such as northern cardinal, Carolina chickadee, and tufted titmouse. However, careful inspection may reveal more atypical species of birds, including blue-gray gnatcatcher, red-eyed vireo and a variety of warblers including worm-eating, black-and-white and hooded warblers. The proximate open grassy areas near the picnic area attract indigo bunting and chipping sparrow, while red-bellied woodpeckers can often be found on dead trees along the forest's edge. Widow skimmers are common along Passage Creek and careful observation could produce more unusual dragon- and damselflies. The numerous wildflowers including the spectacular cardinal flower attract a diversity of butterflies. Although the large swallowtails are the most easily noted, smaller species such as eastern tailed-blue may be found with a keen eye and patience.

Directions

Return to Rt. 613 and turn left; travel 0.6 miles from the first gravel road on the Massanutten East Route to Rt. 619. Turn left on Rt. 619 and follow it 4.0 miles to Rt. 678. Turn left and continue along Rt. 678 for 2.8 miles to Elizabeth Furnace on the left.

Loop Map