Elevation: 2320 ft.
The Ramsey’s Draft watershed includes some virgin forests, with large maples, oaks, and hickories, and some scattered pines. Several large hemlocks line the creek bed. Ramsey’s Draft is probably popular among birders because it provides nesting grounds for neotropical migrants that typically nest at high elevations. At higher elevations along the trail (to Shenandoah Mountain, the next site), you can find Carolina and black-capped chickadee, Blackburnian and black-throated blue warblers, and scarlet tanager. At lower elevations, nesting species include wood thrush, northern parula, and American redstart. In the spring and fall, migrant songbirds can be plentiful. Year-round, look for cedar waxwing, American goldfinch, Acadian flycatcher, wild turkey, turkey vulture, ruffed grouse, and red-shouldered and -tailed hawk. The trails throughout Ramsey’s Draft are extensive and can lead to exploration of several different habitats at varying altitudes. While on the trail, keep an eye out for black bear, red fox, raccoon, rattlesnake, and even signs of beaver.
Please Note: Trails within Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness are maintained minimally. Ramsey’s Draft Trail crosses the stream many times and can be impassable during high water. Since this is a Wilderness Area, there are some special regulations – for example, group size limit of 10 people within the wilderness. Sign in at the kiosk before heading out on the trails.
Mountain House Day Use Area provides primary access to Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness.
Location Coordinates: 38.30639, -79.36222
From Staunton, VA: Travel on U.S. 250 west. The Mountain House Day Use Area is located on U.S. 250 approximately five miles past the turn off to Braley Pond at the junction with Forest Development Road (FDR) 68.
From the Previous Site on the Forest Trails Loop of VBWT:
From Braley Pond, return to US 250, turn right (west) and follow it for approximately 4.9 miles to Ramsey’s Draft at the Mountain House Day Use Area on the right.