Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Site Information

  • Site Contact: (540) 372-1086x213
  • Site Access: Free, open daily 6 am 8 pm April-October.


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Site PBV03: Mott's Reservoir


The park at Motts Run Reservoir provides an excellent afternoon or weekend retreat from the city and its traffic. With over 800 acres of deciduous woodland surrounding Motts Run Reservoir and a network of trails covering 6 miles along the northern shore of the reservoir, the area is a nature lover's delight. These trails zigzag through plentiful woodlands as well as numerous points from which to scan the lake. While walking through the forest, look for stately white-tailed deer carefully watching your every move or perhaps check the canopy for roosting great-horned owls. Listen as the woods ring with the sounds of northern cardinals, blue jays and Carolina wrens in spring, joined by a variety of warblers, vireos, tanagers and orioles as they pass through to points further north. The reservoir is at its wildlife best in fall and winter when a variety of waterfowl pass through. Scan the open water for diving ducks such as lesser scaup, bufflehead and common mergansers; the shallower waters generally host gadwall, American widgeon and wood duck. Late summer is also a good time to check the reservoir for vagrant seabirds wandering in from the coast, especially after heavy storms and hurricanes. Species to be on the look out for include laughing gulls and a variety of terns, but almost anything could make an appearance.


From Curtis Memorial Park, return to Rt. 612 and turn left (south) on Rt. 612/Hartwood Road for 2.0 miles to its intersection with US 17/Warrenton Road. Turn left, heading east 5.4 miles to I-95. Merge onto I-95/US 17 and go south 2.6 miles to Exit #130-B. Turn right and head west 0.5 miles to Rt. 639/Bragg Road. Turn right (north) on Rt. 639/Bragg Road. For 0.8 miles. Go left (west) on Rt. 618/River Road for 2.2 miles to Mott's Reservoir. Turn left and follow this road 0.3 miles to the reservoir.

Loop Map