MTJ05A: Spruce Creek Park (Rockfish Valley Trail System)

Description

Elevation: 734 ft. The Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center in Spruce Creek Park is the first stop along the Rockfish Valley Trail system. It was historically the site of a general store and community center for Wintergreen.

Pick up a copy of the Rockfish Valley trail system brochure with its map or check out the website with a printable map at www.rockfishvalley.org. Begin your trip behind the center by crossing the small wooden bridge and follow the trail out past the picnic tables to several trails. Here you may see a multitude of swallowtail butterflies and monarchs continuing their ageless migration north and south. Along the creek, watch and listen for Acadian flycatchers singing their “Piz–ZA” call along with indigo buntings, and at certain times of the year, white-eyed vireo. As you move out along the trail to the woods, listen for eastern wood-peewee, red and white-breasted nuthatches, and a host of woodpeckers. During winter months, yellow-bellied sapsuckers may be numerous here. Wonder along historic Glenthorne Loop to the bridge over the South Fork of the Rockfish River. Cross into the extensive birding trails and watch for herons fishing the cool mountain waters. Don’t be surprised if you see an eagle or osprey also flying by overhead during the late summer and early fall. If you are here in the early morning or about dusk keep your eyes open for deer, black bear or an elusive bobcat passing through. All three have been seen on a regular basis in the area. During the spring months, listen in the wetter areas of the forest for the sounds of gray tree frogs, American toads, spring peepers and a host of other resident amphibians. In the open grassy areas, watch for northern harrier and loggerhead shrike hunting the fields. Eastern bluebird, eastern meadowlark and a variety of other grassland birds also occur here. You may loop back to your beginning.

Directions

Physical Address: 1368 Rockfish Valley Highway, Nellysford, Virginia 22958

Trails lead from Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center (1368 Rockfish Valley Highway); this is the location of Spruce Creek Park.  Around the park is a recognized butterfly trail and birding trails. If you prefer to begin at the principal Rockfish Valley Trail system trail head (the Camille Trail Head), it is located ½ mile south on Rockfish Valley Highway (VA-151).  Parking and a rest facility are available at this point. Trails connect from there to Spruce Creek Park via Glenthorne Loop, but also run up and downstream along the South Fork of the Rockfish River.

Directions from Previous Site on the Thomas Jefferson Loop of VBWT:

From the Wintergreen Nature Foundation, head east on Wintergreen Dr. toward Stone Ridge for 1 mile, then turn right to stay on Wintergreen Dr. and continue 2.4 miles. Turn left onto Beech Grove Rd. and continue driving 4.7 miles. Turn left onto VA-151 N and continue 1.7 miles towards the Spruce Creek Park entrance.