Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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- Site Access: Free, Daily
Site MLN12: Falls of Dismal
Elevation: 2242 ft. The Falls of Dismal sit on the edge of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest where the Pearis Thompson Branch of Dismal Creek drains Flat Top Mountain. The falls offer the perfect opportunity for cooling off on a hot day or respite from hiking or horseback riding in the area. The site's proximity to the Appalachian Trail allows for this remote area to be explored more fully. The forest around the falls is primarily white pine, with oak, hickory and maple forming much of the lower canopy. Birds in the area include ruffed grouse, wild turkey, mourning dove, downy and pileated woodpeckers, eastern wood-pewee, eastern phoebe, blue jay, American crow, common raven, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, wood thrush, cedar waxwing, red-eyed vireo, hooded and black-and-white warblers, ovenbird, scarlet tanager, eastern towhee and American goldfinch. On occasion red-tailed, red-shouldered and broad-winged hawks can be seen circling overhead. The dank seepage streams in the forest around the falls are excellent sites to search for salamanders. Preferring drier havens, the rare timber rattlesnake might hang around in the numerous nooks and crannies of rock in the area. The quiet roadsides are good areas to search for butterflies on sunny days, with red-spotted purple and red admiral joining the more numerous swallowtails.
From the Farley Memorial Wayside, return to SR 100 South. Follow it for 4.7 miles to Poplar Hill and SR 42. Turn right and continue west on SR 42 for 10.4 miles to Rt. 606. Turn right and travel 0.9 miles to Rt. 671. Turn right on Rt. 671 and go 0.9 miles to the pull out on the right.