Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MSG01: Mount Pleasant Scenic Area
Elevation: 3471 Mount Pleasant is more than merely what the name implies. It is a fantastic place for wildlife viewing and hiking in the woods. Even as visitors drive along the access road to the trailhead, wildlife is prolific with ruffed grouse and wild turkey wandering across the road and clouds of swallowtails flitting about at every turn. The parking area at the end of the road is the origin for several trails crisscrossing the mountainside. The Appalachian Trail also traverses the road a few hundred yards before the parking area. These trails take the hiker deep into pristine hardwood forest teeming with wildlife. Birds to look for in this area include downy, hairy and pileated woodpeckers, eastern wood-pewee, great crested flycatcher, common raven, white-breasted nuthatch, blue-gray gnatcatcher, cedar waxwing, red-eyed vireo, ovenbird, eastern towhee, dark-eyed junco, and black-and-white, worm-eating and hooded warblers. Search the more open sunny areas where wildflowers abound for butterflies such as pipevine, spicebush, eastern black and eastern tiger swallowtails, red-spotted purple, monarch, great spangled and Aphrodite fritillaries, and various skippers and blues. Wildlife viewing in this area gives the observer a sense of boundless surprise. What lies around the next corner could be anything from a white-tailed deer buck grazing next to the path to a six-foot long timber rattlesnake slithering through the leaf litter.
From US 29 in Amherst, follow US 60 West for approximately 17 miles to Rt. 634. Turn right and follow Rt. 634 for 1.6 miles to Rt. 755. Turn right on Rt. 755 and continue 3.1 miles to Mount Pleasant parking area.