Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Site Contact: (540) 925-2343
  • Site Access: Hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or access permit required.
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Site MHJ01: Coursey Springs State Fish Hatchery


Elevation: 1733 ft. This fish hatchery is located adjacent to the Cowpasture River. In addition to numerous trout wells, this site offers large ponds, naturalized fishing areas, creekside habitats, riparian corridors and open fields. Green and great blue herons can often be found wading in shallow waters, especially in the mornings. At dawn and dusk, night herons may be more common. Belted kingfisher is a permanent resident and hunts these wells from power lines throughout the day. In the summer, keep an eye out for a possible bald eagle or osprey that may have strayed from its nesting grounds. Red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks hunt the surrounding skies year-round. The more open areas surrounding the hatchery attract eastern bluebird, American goldfinch, eastern kingbird, and red-winged blackbird. Along brushy creekside areas, look for birds such as eastern phoebe and Carolina wren. Dragonflies and damselflies patrol the hatchery's many ponds. Look for blue dasher, eastern pondhawk, black saddlebags, calico pennant, and common green darner.


From I-81 in Staunton, take Exit #222/US 250 West, through downtown/Historic Staunton, for 36.5 miles to Rt. 678 in the Town of McDowell. Turn left, heading south on Rt. 678 for 15.3 miles to the Coursey Springs State Fish Hatchery on the left.

Loop Map