|COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.|
Mount Pleasant is more than merely what the name implies. It is a fantastic place for wildlife viewing and hiking in the woods. Even as visitors drive along the access road to the trailhead, wildlife is prolific with ruffed grouse and wild turkey wandering across the road and clouds of swallowtails flitting about at every turn. The parking area at the end of the road is the origin for several trails crisscrossing the mountainside, including the Henry Lanum Trail (formerly known as the Mount Pleasant Trail). The Appalachian Trail also traverses the road a few hundred yards before the parking area. These trails take the hiker deep into pristine hardwood forest teeming with wildlife.
The 4.69-mile Henry Lanum Trail climbs to the top of Pompey Mountain and continues along the ridge top with glimpses of the surrounding mountains. Large flat rocks and spectacular views make the summit of Mount Pleasant an ideal spot for lunch. Watch for rare peregrine falcons in the area.
Other birds to look for in the Mount Pleasant area include downy, hairy and pileated woodpeckers, eastern wood-pewee, great crested flycatcher, common raven, white-breasted nuthatch, blue-gray gnatcatcher, cedar waxwing, red-eyed vireo, ovenbird, eastern towhee, dark-eyed junco, and black-and-white, worm-eating and hooded warblers. Search the more open sunny areas where wildflowers abound for butterflies such as pipevine, spicebush, eastern black and eastern tiger swallowtails, red-spotted purple, monarch, great spangled and Aphrodite fritillaries, and various skippers and blues. Wildlife viewing in this area gives the observer a sense of boundless surprise. What lies around the next corner could be anything from a white-tailed deer buck grazing next to the path to a six-foot long timber rattlesnake slithering through the leaf litter.
From US Highway 60, turn onto SR 634, Davis Mill Creek Road. Follow Davis Mill Creek road to the intersection with SR 755 (Wiggins Springs Road). Follow Wiggins Springs Road to the sign for end of state maintenance, then continue on the gravel road FR #48, Hog Camp Gap Road. Where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road at Hog Camp Gap, continue approximately 0.25 miles, then take a right into the trailhead parking.