Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (276) 676-5673 Claiborne.Woodall@dcr.virginia.gov
- Site Access: Free, Daily
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Site MSP02: Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve
Elevation: 1668 ft. Located in the Clinch River watershed, Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve follows Big Cedar Creek to its confluence with the Clinch River. This site is named after The Pinnacle, a 300-foot towering outcrop of dolomite. In addition to its namesake, this site holds fascinating geological features including waterfalls and cavern formations. A trail follows Big Cedar Creek and ascends towards the Pinnacle. Habitats within this area are typical of mesic slope forests, rich cove, and dry calcareous woodland communities. The plethora of water from the creek and springs attract amphibians such as green and pickerel frogs. Salamanders require a little more investigation, but turning over a few rocks near springs can produce mountain dusky and northern spring salamanders. In addition to the wonderful diversity of fauna, this site serves as residence to a number of rare and unusual plants including American harebell, Canby's mountain-lover, and glade spurge. The Big Cedar Creek millipede is only known to exist here and a few nearby areas, and can sometimes be spied around rock ledges.
From Hidden Valley Lake WMA, return on Rt. 690 to US 19/US ALT 58 West. Turn right, following US 19 North for 8.2 miles (US ALT 58 splits from US 19 after 2.7 miles, but remain on US 19). Turn left on US 19 Business and travel 1.0 mile to SR 82. Turn left onto SR 82 West, driving 1.1 miles to Rt. 640. Turn right on Rt. 640 and continue for 4.3 miles to Rt. 721. Turn left on Rt. 721 and follow it 0.8 miles to the parking area on the left.