Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MPO03: Blackwater Creek Natural Area and Hiking Trails
Elevation: 611 ft. The Blackwater Creek Natural Area includes 300-acres of forested areas situated within a narrow stream valley along Blackwater Creek. An extensive trail system, several miles in length, can accommodate hikers, joggers, and bikers, and in some areas, is handicap-accessible. Large oaks, hickories, poplars, and beeches wood these forests. Sourwood, dogwood, and spicebush fill in the understory, with asters, bloodroot, and jack-in-the-pulpit blooming amidst the forest floor. Pileated woodpecker, great horned owl, and green heron take residence along Blackwater Creek. Within the woodland forests, passerines are most diverse during spring and fall migration, but other nesting birds include black-and-white and yellow-throated warblers, brown thrasher, gray catbird, chipping sparrow, and American redstart. Reptiles such as black rat and northern water snakes are common within the woods, and along the creek, respectively. Mammalian denizens include red fox, white-tailed deer, and beaver.
From the Old City Cemetery, return to US 29 Business and turn right, continuing south on US 29 Business for 0.6 miles to the intersection of US 29 Business and US 501 Business. Turn right on US 501 Business, proceeding west for 0.7 miles to Tate Springs Road. Turn right onto Tate Springs Road and continue for 0.2 miles to Thomson Drive. Turn left onto Thomson Drive and drive 0.4 miles to its dead end. This is a trailhead for the Blackwater Creek Natural Area (as well as an entry point for Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve).