Encompassed in the greater WMA, the Hardware River drains southeast out of the Appalachians and into the James River, just downstream from Scottsville. Two main entry points into the WMA take visitors through several acres of fields and riparian forest. The westernmost entrance (off Route 611) leads to a series of gated roads leading through a mosaic of young deciduous forest and open brushy fields. In this area, vibrant northern cardinals are constantly chipping or flitting across the path and you’re guaranteed to be scolded by white-eyed vireos lingering in the dense cover. During migration, keep a look out for migrant warblers such as magnolia.
The road winding into the eastern end of the WMA (Route 646) crosses the Hardware River just before it empties into the James River. Along this road look for northern bobwhite, and while on the bridge, be sure to scan the stream for great blue herons, wood ducks and the occasional eastern phoebe. Continuing to the James River boat landing, search the open fields for indigo buntings and blue grosbeaks and check any dense vegetation for common yellowthroats. The riparian forest overflows with woodland species such as Carolina wrens singing from the underbrush and American goldfinch perched high overhead. The moist areas along the riverbank are a favorite among question mark butterflies, as well as, occasional eastern tiger swallowtails and red-spotted purples. Dragonflies to look for along the banks include powdered dancers and American rubyspots.
A map of the Hardware River WMA is available on the DWR website.
- To Access the Site: A Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
- Hunting could be occurring at this site April 1 – May 31 and September 1 – February 28th, except on Sundays. If you are visiting this site during hunting seasons, please wear blaze orange or blaze pink for safety.
Boat Landing: 3826 Hardware Road, Scottsville, VA 24590
Kidds Mill Parking: 198 Kidds Mill Lane, Scottsville, VA 24590
End of Route 611 Parking: 1574 Paynes Landing Road, Scottsville, VA 24590
From Scottsville, turn right onto Route 611 to access the western portion of the area. From 611, one parking area is to the left on Kidds Mill Road; another is at the end of Route 611. To access the eastern portion of the area and the boat ramp, continue east on Route 6 and turn right onto Route 646.
Location & DirectionsView on Google Maps
- Site Contact: DWR Region 4 Office: (804) 598-4286, BirdingTrail@dwr.virginia.gov
- Access: Daily. Restore the Wild Membership, hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
Birds Recently Seen at Hardware River Wildlife Management Area (as reported to eBird)
- Turkey Vulture
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
- Northern Flicker
- Blue Jay
- Carolina Chickadee
- Tufted Titmouse
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Carolina Wren
- Eastern Bluebird
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Boat Ramp