Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: Michael Kieffer; Bull Run Mountains Conservancy, (703) 753-2631 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Free open daily by permission, sunrise to sunset
- Visit Website
Site PCU01: Bull Run Mountains State Natural Area Preserve
Bull Run Mountains State Natural Area Preserve offers over 800 acres of wilderness for the intrepid wildlife watcher to explore. The preserve is primarily forested with deciduous trees and accessed by natural trails that snake their way uphill to the ridge top along the Bull Run Mountains. Here you'll be introduced to picturesque vistas to the west and the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge. While walking through the woods, listen for the familiar sounds of the eastern woodlands-northern cardinals singing 'pretty bird, pretty bird' or the tiny tin trumpets of white-breasted nuthatches. In the undergrowth, you're likely to find families of Carolina wrens that are joined by white-throated sparrows and miniscule ruby-crowned kinglets in winter. While hiking the trails keep careful watch for white-tailed deer standing in a cautious freeze or sprinting through the forest with their tails raised in alarm. Be careful where you step, because there could be an eastern box turtle shuffling across the path. As if directly out of one of the forest scenes in “Alice in Wonderland,” watch as flocks of passerines come and go as you turn each corner. Additionally, watch the flocks of chickadees and titmice scatter in a flurry as soon as a Cooper's hawk glides past overhead.
From I-66, southwest of Washington D.C., take Exit #40 in Haymarket. Go south on US 15 for 0.2 miles to SR 55/John Marshall Highway. Turn right (west) on SR 55 for 2.6 miles to Turner Road. Turn right (north) on Turner Road for 0.1 miles. Turn left (west) on Beverley Mill Drive for 0.7 miles to the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy's Mountain House on the left and park in the trailhead parking lot.