Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MLN14: New River Trail State Park - Pulaski
Elevation: 1883 ft. This site marks the start of the New River Trail State Park an incredible 52.5-mile long park that follows the New River from Pulaski to Galax. The trail in the Town of Pulaski follows an old railroad bed primarily through the counties of Pulaski, Wythe, Carroll and Grayson, providing a great opportunity to walk, bicycle or ride a horse through this amazing landscape. The habitat to be found around the Xaloy trailhead is a mix of open fields and dense deciduous woodland. Common tree species in the area include yellow poplar and sassafras with the trailside herbage including lesser stitchwort, woodland sunflower, everlasting pea and wild potato vine. Birds to be seen along the trail include mourning dove, ruby-throated hummingbird, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers, northern flicker, eastern phoebe, blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, American robin, gray catbird, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, white-eyed vireo, indigo bunting, eastern towhee, chipping and song sparrows, and American goldfinch. Additional species join the ranks during migration. The trail's numerous wildflowers attract a variety of butterflies such as orange sulphur, common wood-nymph, silver-spotted skipper and eastern tiger swallowtail.
From Polecat Trail, return to Rt. 610 via Rt. 712 and follow Rt. 610 back to Pulaski. In Pulaski, turn left on Valley Road and go one block to Main Street. Turn right on West Main Street and follow it east where it becomes SR 99 (headed toward I-81). Follow the New River Trail State Park signs for 2.0 miles to the turn off on the left before I-81. To return to I-81, turn left onto SR 99 and follow it 1.9 miles to I-81. From here, travel south to start the Big Walker Mountain Loop or north to start the Eastern Continental Divide Loop.