Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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Site MSL12: Belcher Mountain Road


Elevation: 3229 ft. Belcher Mountain Road takes the traveler past farmhouses and through the fields and forests of Virginia's Blue Ridge. The road includes views of several small ponds as well as higher elevation fields around 3000 ft. For most of its length the road passes through deciduous woodlands and is an excellent place to search for woodland bird species. Birds along this trail vary between the seasons with the highest variety occurring during migration. Breeding species in the area include downy woodpecker, northern flicker, eastern phoebe, eastern kingbird, blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, wood thrush, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, red-eyed vireo, indigo bunting, eastern towhee, chipping, field and song sparrows, red-winged blackbird, and eastern meadowlark. A variety of warblers and both savannah and grasshopper sparrows have also been reported during the summer. The more open areas along the roads provide ideal opportunities to spot white-tailed deer although these are often seen crossing the road. The road margins support a good diversity of wildflowers with chicory, crown vetch, black-eyed Susans and Queen Anne's lace. In turn, these wildflowers attract numerous butterflies. Swallowtails being especially abundant provide visitors a chance to admire the subtle differences between pipevine, spicebush, black and the black form of eastern tiger swallowtail.


From I.C. DeHart Memorial Park, return south on SR 40/Charity Highway to the intersection of SR 8/Woolwine Highway and SR 40/Charity Highway in Woolwine. Turn right very briefly on SR 8/Woolwine Highway and turn left on Rt. 616/Mill House Road. Follow Rt. 616/Mill House Road 2.3 miles to Rt. 609/Belcher Mountain Road. Turn right and follow Rt. 609/Belcher Mountain Road 7.3 miles to Rt. 604/Helms Road. Turn left onto Rt. 604/Helms Road (changes to Rt. 610) and follow it 3.8 miles to its intersection with Rt. 764/Mountain View Road. Continue straight ahead on Rt. 610 (name changes to Cloudbreak Road) and travel an additional 2.3 miles to US 58/J.E.B. Stuart Highway.

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