© Bruce McNitt/Panoramic Images (Virginia)

Virginia DGIF Birding and Wildlife Trail

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. In fact, it is the first statewide program of its kind in the United States. In Virginia, the three phases of this driving trail link wildlife viewing sites throughout the state that have a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.

The Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail uses existing highways, scenic byways and historic trails to link birding and wildlife watching sites throughout Virginia. The Trail improves visitors’ experiences as they drive along existing roadways, stop at a variety of different sites to observe flora and fauna, and stop at parks and other wildlife viewing areas to hike and explore.

The Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail is a statewide project coordinated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as part of its mission to “manage Virginia’s wildlife…to serve the needs of the Commonwealth, and to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife… and outdoor recreation.” Like the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, the Virginia Trail is a key, long-term tool involving Virginians and visitors in wildlife habitat conservation and restoration. 

As a growing number of nature tourists spend their time and money along the Trail, communities want to invest in the natural resources that are attracting tourism dollars. By providing easy and exciting access to birds and other species, the Birding and Wildlife Trail increases the number of people involved in wildlife watching. A study conducted by the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech in 2007 estimated that over 640,000 people per year visit the Trail and spent over $8.6 Million dollars annually.

Currently the Trail consists of 680 sites developed into 65 separate loops. Loops are designed, in most cases, to take 3-4 days to complete. Directions are provided from site to site and pass through many of the local communities. This keeps people in the local communities to spend money on gas, food, lodging and shopping.

Additional Resources

To purchase a copy of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Statewide Trail Guide, call 1-866-74VABWT (748-2298).

Learn more about the Trail

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