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Elevation: 1634 ft.
Lake Moomaw’s location adjacent to T. M. Gathright Wildlife Management Area weaves in another set of habitats, escalating the observer’s chance to see even more wildlife. The large reservoir, formed by damming the Jackson River, provides opportunities to see numerous open water and shoreline species at several access points. Bolar Mountain Recreation Area on the northern end of the lake allow access to camping sites, a boat ramp, and 11 miles of hiking trails with two scenic overlooks: Islands Overlook Spur and Grouse Point Overlook. The open fields and scrubby woodland next to the lake provide ample habitat for indigo bunting, eastern kingbird, ruby-throated hummingbird, American goldfinch, and blue-gray gnatcatcher. Upon moving closer to the water, the visitor enters the reservoir’s drawdown zone, an area of natural variation between high and low water. This is prime habitat for innumerable dragonflies; Halloween pennant, yellow-legged meadowhawk, eastern amberwing and widow skimmer zip around in large numbers. Examine the shoreline carefully. Lake Moomaw has 43.5 miles of shoreline, so this could take some time, but the rewards are surely worth the effort. From January through July, bald eagles nest along the shores of the reservoir. During migration, numerous species of shorebird are possible with solitary, spotted and least sandpipers being the most likely. During the summer months, great blue and green herons frequent the various inlets, as do vocal killdeer. The open water itself could host a variety of waterfowl at any time intermixed with the resident Canada geese. Careful examination can turn up the occasional oddity such as American coot and even common loon.
Lake Moomaw is located right along the West Virginia State Line within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest north of I 64.
From Twins Ridge Dr, either continue left to picnic and camping areas or right towards Bolar Mountain Recreation Area.
From I 581 N/US 220 N in Roanoke, continue for 5.4 miles. Take exit 1N to merge onto I 81 N/US 220 N toward Lexington. In 6.8 miles, take exit 150B for US 11 N/US 220 N toward Troutville/Fincastle. Keep right and follow signs for US 220 N/Fincastle to merge onto US 11/US 220. Turn right onto US 220 N and continue for 34.3 miles. Keep right and follow signs for US 60/US 220 N/I 64/Covington/Lexington to merge onto US 220 S/US 60 BUS E. In 0.6 miles, turn right onto I 64 E/US 60 E and continue for 1.5 miles. Take exit 29 for SR 42 N toward SR 269 E. Turn left onto SR 42 N followed by a left onto SR 39 W in 16.5 miles. Then, turn left onto US 220 S in 13.0 miles. Turn right onto SR 39 W and continue for 2.9 miles. Turn left (west) onto SR 687. In 2.8 miles, turn right (west) onto SR 603/Richardson Gorge Rd and continue for 7.0 miles. The marina and store is on the left at this point, or continue further on SR 603 and turn right onto Twin Ridge Dr.
From I 64 in Charlottesville/Waynesboro, continue west. Take the I 81 S exit toward I 64 W/Lexington/Roanoke. In 1.4 miles, take exit 220 for SR 262 toward US 11 and continue onto SR 262 N. In 4.2 miles, take the SR 254/Parkersburg Pike exit and turn left onto SR 254 W. Continue for 49.4 miles to follow SR 42 S and SR 39 W. Then, turn left onto US 220 S and right onto SR 39 W. In 2.9 miles, turn left (west) onto SR 687 and continue for 2.8 miles. Turn right (west) onto SR 603/Richardson Gorge Rd and continue for 7.0 miles. The marina and store is on the left at this point, or continue further on SR 603 and turn right onto Twin Ridge Dr.
Location & DirectionsView on Google Maps
- Site Contact: Warm Springs District Ranger (540) 839-2521
- Access: Daily
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Bike Trails
- Hiking Trails
- Interpretive Nature Program
- Interpretive Trail
- Kayak/Canoe Launch
- Viewing Blinds
- Boat Ramp