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Elevation: 3229 ft.
Belcher Mountain Road is a driving route that takes the traveler past farmhouses and through the fields and forests of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The road includes views of several small ponds as well as higher elevation fields around 3000 ft. For most of its 7.3-mile length, the road passes through deciduous woodlands and is an excellent place to search for woodland bird species.
Birds along this trail vary between the seasons with the highest variety occurring during migration. Breeding species in the area include downy woodpecker, northern flicker, eastern phoebe, eastern kingbird, blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, wood thrush, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, red-eyed vireo, indigo bunting, eastern towhee, chipping, field and song sparrows, red-winged blackbird, and eastern meadowlark. A variety of warblers and both savannah and grasshopper sparrows have also been reported during the summer. The more open areas along the roads provide ideal opportunities to spot white-tailed deer although these are often seen crossing the road. The road margins support a good diversity of wildflowers with chicory, crown vetch, black-eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s lace. In turn, these wildflowers attract numerous butterflies. Swallowtails being especially abundant provide visitors a chance to admire the subtle differences between pipevine, spicebush, black and the black form of eastern tiger swallowtail.
West End Starting Point: Intersection of Route 609/ Belcher Mountain Rd and Route 616/ Mill House Rd in Woolwine, VA
East End Starting Point: Intersection of Route 609/ Belcher Mountain Rd and Route 604/Helms Rd in Meadows of Dan, VA
To the west end of Belcher Mountain Road, from the Previous Site on the Sweet Mountain Laurel Loop of the VBWT:
From I.C. DeHart Memorial Park, return south on SR 40/Charity Highway to the intersection of SR 8/Woolwine Highway and SR 40/Charity Highway in Woolwine. Turn right on SR 8/Woolwine Highway and then immediately turn left on Rt. 616/Mill House Road. Follow Rt. 616/Mill House Road 1.7 miles. Turn right to continue on Rt. 616/Mill House road for an additional 0.6 miles. Turn right onto Rt. 609/Belcher Mountain Road to begin the birding route and follow it for 7.3 miles to its eastern end point at Rt. 604/Helms Road.
- The pin on the google map will take you to the West End Starting Point of the driving route.