Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (276) 835-9544, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission free
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Site MLP08: Cranes Nest River Trail
Elevation: 1495 ft., This trail follows Cranes Nest River, from its trailhead in Clintwood, running several miles in length to the river's confluence with John W. Flanagan Reservoir. The trail meanders alongside the river in some areas, but climbs upward along a bench that overlooks the river as well. Parts of this trail traverse old-growth hardwood forests, rhododendron thickets, and river bottom woodlands. In addition to birds typical of eastern hardwood forests, such as eastern wood-pewee and wood thrush, birders will find opportunities to spy American redstart, hooded, Kentucky, yellow-throated, and black-throated blue warblers during the breeding season. Spring and fall produce a fair number of migrant thrushes, warblers, and tanagers. The river was named after the many "cranes" that made their homes along this waterway. In fact, these birds were not cranes at all, but rather great blue heron. Today, although they are not abundant within this corridor, they can be seen occasionally. Other wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and eastern box turtle are resident to this area. Aquatic red-spotted newt and its terrestrial form, red eft, can be found in and out of the river, respectively.
From the Active Beaver Area on the Pound River, return to the intersection of Rt. 630 and US 23 north of Pound, go left on US 23 and travel south for 0.9 miles to US 23 BUS/Main Street. Turn left onto US 23 BUS East/Main Street and follow it 1.2 miles to SR 83. Turn left onto SR 83 East and continue for 11.9 miles to Rt. 693. Turn left onto Rt. 693 and go 2.7 miles to the trailhead, located on the east side of the parking area.