Elevation: 2752 ft.
The Montebello area has something for everyone to see; it is a great place to view a wide variety of wildlife. Butterflies and hummingbirds frequent the area around the recycling center. If you are interested in salamanders, this is the place for you! Feel free to look under rocks and logs, but be sure to place them back gently and enjoy the view without handling any creatures. Remember too that this is bear country; you could see one just about anytime but especially in the spring and summer months.
The Hatchery provides opportunities to see trout being grown in the raceways fed by the freshwater spring. You will also get the opportunity to see black vultures sitting above the raceways waiting for the occassional snack.
Other surprises in the area include a variety of woodpeckers and flycatchers as well as wood or hermit thrushers depending on the season. Close behind the hatchery lies the parking lot which opens to the 1.3-mile moderatly strenuous Spy Rock hike. This hike provides probably the best viewpoint in the central Blue Ridge with 360-degree panoramic view from 3980 feet up. Along the hike, expect to see a host of warblers such as black-throated green, yellow, and chestnut sided. Rarer warblers like cerulean and golden-winged may also be found here.
Just down the road and to the left is “Downtown Montebello”, and no visit would be complete without a trip to the Country Store. Stop in and see the local crafts and artisans, pick up some hiking supplies, and then sit out on the porch for awhile. Across from the store is a public fishing pond where a great blue heron is often seen doing some fishing of its own. An osprey or bald eagle is not out of the question here either. Past this pond are camping areas within the Montebello Resort with various amenities, additional trail access, and Four Acre Lake for guests.
Additional information about the Country Store can be acquired through the Montebello Resort website.
Location of Hatchery: 359 Fish Hatchery Ln, Montebello, VA 24464
Location of Montebello Country Store: 15072 Crabtree Falls Hwy, Montebello, VA 24464
After turning onto SR 690/Fish Hatchery Ln, continue for about 1/4 miles to the hatchery parking lot on the left. To access the Spy Rock Trail, pass the hatchery parking lot and follow the road along the hatchery fence to the separate lot for hikers. Across from this lot, follow signs past the yellow metal gate to Spy Rock (approx. 1 mile). To reach “Downtown Montebello”, turn left back onto SR 56/Crabtree Falls Hwy and follow for about a mile to the Country Store.
From I-64/I-81 near Steeles Tavern, take exit 205 for SR 606 toward Raphine and turn left onto SR 606/Raphine rd. In 1.6 miles, turn left onto US 11 N and then right onto SR 56 E/Tye River Tpke. After 8.8 miles, turn right (southwest) onto SR 690/Fish Hatchery Ln.
From the previous site on the Thomas Jefferson Loop of the VBWT:
From Crabtree Falls, turn left (west) onto SR 56/Crabtree Falls Hwy and continue for 2.5 miles until SR 690/Fish Hatchery Ln appears to the left.
- Site Contact: Hatchery: (540) 377-2418. Montebello Resort/Country Store: (540) 377-2650, email@example.com
- Access: Hatchery: M-F 8-3, Fee. Trails: Dawn to dusk year-round, Free. Country Store: Apr-Oct 8-6; Dec-Mar 9-5
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Hiking Trails