Do you enjoy bird watching? Are you interested in spending a day in the great outdoors around Smith Mountain Lake but don’t know where to begin? One possibility is to take a hike along one of the many Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries birding and wildlife trails. Here’s what the VDGIF has to say about these outdoor activities:
Within Virginia’s 43,000 square miles of diverse natural habitat, you can find some 400 species of birds, 250 species of fish, 150 species of terrestrial and marine animals, 150 species of amphibians and reptiles, and a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. The Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail celebrates this diversity. It is the first statewide program of its kind in the United States. In Virginia, three phases of the trail link wildlife viewing sites throughout the state.
The Coastal Area was the first to be developed. It features untouched barrier islands, cypress swamps, great stands of pine forest, and bayside salt marshes. Here are 18 trail loops for you to explore. Be on the lookout for birds, butterflies, snakes, turtles, dragonflies, and more.
The Mountain Phase was the second phase to be developed. It features expansive mountain vistas, endless forest trails, large inland reservoirs, and a taste of western Piedmont. Here are 34 loops for you to explore. Now don’t forget your binoculars!
Completing the first statewide birding and wildlife trail in the U.S., the Piedmont Area offers 13 loops. The Piedmont area includes expansive grasslands, large forested tracts, pineland savannahs, several large reservoirs, and an abundance of rich history and culture!
For Smith Mountain Lake residents, there are several sites along the Southwest Piedmont Loop, including trails in Smith Mountain Lake State Park and Smith Mountain Lake Community Park. These trails offer opportunities to see waterfowl such as ring-billed gulls, double-crested cormorants, and great blue herons as well as songbirds like eastern phoebes, eastern bluebirds, and many other beautiful species. So grab your binoculars and hit the trails!