Devil’s Den Nature Preserve
Elevation: 2906 ft.
The name “Devil’s Den” refers to a 600-million-year-old cave formation comprised of several layers of rock, which contain many large rooms. Formed by the collision of the Appalachian and Piedmont rock encrustations, this cave is primarily metamorphic schist, granite stone with depositions of mica and pyrites, and even 45 inlays of solid quartz bands.
The Nature Preserve surrounding the cave offers 280 acres of land, which includes mature hardwood forests, cleared plateaus, and shrubby brush. A trail system passes through most of these habitats and leads towards the spectacular cave. Red-eyed vireo, black-throated green and hooded warblers, wood thrush, scarlet tanager and indigo bunting are common throughout the summer.
Located just south of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this site is probably well traveled by migrating neotropical songbirds in the spring and fall. Other wildlife viewing possibilities include white-tailed deer, eastern box turtle, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and red fox. The cave has yet to be used as a maternity home for bat species, but big brown bat and other species of bats have been seen flying around this area. An anticipated butterfly garden, already in its earlier stages of development, is sure to attract more ruby-throated hummingbirds, as well as butterflies such as great-spangled fritillary, eastern tiger swallowtail and spicebush swallowtail.
Please note that the trail to the den is steep and narrow, but does offer several benches for resting along the way.
From the previous site on the Blue Ridge Highlands Loop of the VBWT:
From Beaver Dam Creek Trail, return to US 52 and turn left, traveling south for 8.8 miles, crossing under the Blue Ridge Parkway, to Old Appalachian Trail (immediately after the bridge). Turn right on Old Appalachian Trail and follow it for 1.3 miles to Cemetery Rd. Turn left and continue for 0.1 miles to the parking lot on the left.