7 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Virginia

By Ian-Spiegel Blum

7 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Virginia

Virginia’s diverse natural habitats, from the beaches on the eastern shore to the mountains and nature preserves, make for a fantastic place for eager birdwatchers. Whether you’re on the lookout for a ruby-throated hummingbird or you’d love to catch sight of an osprey, you’ll find that opportunity on the seven best birdwatching hikes in Virginia. 

2. Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge

The Eastern Shore of the Virginia National Wildlife Refuge in Cape Charles, Virginia, is home to over 300 birds, including very rare species. The best way for a hiker to view them is to take the Southern Tip Bike and Hike Trail. It’s just over 2.5 miles. On your hike, you might catch sight of anything from a mourning dove to a bald eagle! 

3. New River Trail State Park, Max Meadows, VA

New River Trail State Park sits on 1,668 acres of land in Max Meadows, Virginia. The trail has a “gentle slope,” which makes it “great for visitors of all ages to hike, bike and ride horseback,” according to the official website. Mourning doves, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and northern flickers reside here, so birders are in for a real treat. 

Rail to trail along the New River, VA.

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4. Mill Mountain Star Trail, Roanoke, VA

The Mill Mountain Star Trail is a great hike up Roanoke’s most famous mountain range while providing a fantastic spot for birdwatching. According to the Virginia is for Lovers website, “Nature enthusiasts and wildlife-watchers would probably find most interest in hiking the Star Trail…see spring and fall migratory warblers and nesting migrants,” among others.

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5. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Beach, VA

The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach has five trails with adjoining lookout points over the beach. Birdwatchers should be on the lookout for osprey, eagles, terns, and so much more! 

6. Kiptopeke State Park, Cape Charles, VA

Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles, Virginia, is known for its fall hawk-watch sites. It is a go-to for anyone interested in watching fall migratory birds, and is known for its long-lasting hawk watch. The park boasts over five miles of hiking trails. 

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7. Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Alexandria, VA

With over 485 acres of protected marsh, flood plain, swamp, and forest, the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is an ideal spot for birdwatching. Consider taking the Haul Road Trail, an old mining road just under a mile long through the Dyke Marsh. Keep an eye to the skies for over 270 species of birds.

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