Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Site Contact: (540) 899-4169
  • Site Access: Daily. Hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or access permit required.
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Site PJR07: Hardware River Wildlife Management Area


Encompassed in the greater WMA, the Hardware River drains southeast out of the Appalachians and into the James River, just downstream from Scottsville. Two main entry points into the WMA take visitors through several acres of fields and riparian forest. The westernmost entrance leads to a series of gated roads leading through a mosaic of young deciduous forest and open brushy fields. In this area, vibrant northern cardinals are constantly chipping or flitting across the path and you're guaranteed to be scolded by white-eyed vireos lingering in the dense cover. During migration, keep a look out for migrant warblers such as magnolia. The road winding into the eastern end of the WMA crosses the Hardware River just before it empties into the James River. Along this road look for northern bobwhite, and while on the bridge, be sure to scan the stream for great blue herons, wood ducks and the occasional eastern phoebe. Continuing to the James River boat landing, search the open fields for indigo buntings and blue grosbeaks and check any dense vegetation for common yellowthroats. The riparian forest overflows with woodland species such as Carolina wrens singing from the underbrush and American goldfinch perched high overhead. The moist areas along the riverbank are a favorite among question mark butterflies, as well as, occasional eastern tiger swallowtails and red-spotted purples. Dragonflies to look for along the banks include powdered dancers and American rubyspots.


From Dorrier Park return to the intersection of Page and Main Street. Turn right on Main and follow it across SR 20 and continue east on SR 6. Follow SR 6 for approximately 3.8 miles to Rt. 611 and turn right. Continue for 2.3 miles to the end of the road. This is the western end of Hardware River WMA. To access the eastern portion, return to SR 6 and travel 2.6 miles to Rt. 646 and turn right. Follow Rt. 646 3.7 miles to the boat landing.

Loop Map