Enjoy the rush of dramatic Southern Appalachian high country and birding at
its best in America's famous Mountain Rogers National Recreation Area. It
is gorgeous beauty beyond compare. A birding trip put together by members
of the Bristol Bird Club for birders from everywhere.
This is dramatic, exciting and fun adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains
over a Forest Service jeep trail crawling through the high country where
automobiles cannot travel. We will make an effort to provide 4-wheel drive
off road transportation for those who let us know right away they plan to go
up with us.
Dick Moose and Judy Moose will be the leaders. This is a repeat outing by
7:30 a.m. leave from Mountain Sports parking lot on Commonwealth Ave. in
Bristol Virginia where you enter I-381 (34 miles to Chilhowie). We will
need to leave right on time in order to keep our scheduled times with others
along the way.
8:00 a.m. arrive at Tourist Information Center at Chilhowie located directly
across the street from the Exxon
Station exactly at I-81, Exit 35 . Meet us there if you wish. Then take
your car on to the parking area for the jeep trail.
8:10 a.m. leave Tourist Information Center heading to jeep trail which is 19
miles from Chilhowie (8:30 a.m. check closed stores
for anyone waiting on us at Konnarock and Rt. 600). Depart Konnarock on Va.
Rt. 76 towards Grindstone Campground, Fairwood and Troutdale direction.
8:45 arrive at Jeep trail (Forest Service Route 613 on right) which is 8
miles from Konnarock.
aa Tourist information center chilhowie.jpgWe will be headed up the
length of the 'Possum Creek jeep trail along Stone
Mountain to the "Scales" at 4,400 feet elevation
at the Appalachian Trail and Pine Mountain. We
travel over the Forest Service back country Route 613
and spend birding and wildflower time in impressive
We seek to discover many Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers on their breeding
territories in the Jefferson National Forest of Grayson County, VA. One of
our previous trips up the jeep trail produced many sapsuckers.
We saw six (6) sapsuckers along the four-mile length of the 'Possum Creek
jeep in June 2004.
Bring everything you might need and bring drinks, pack a lunch you can take
up, coats and rain gear. Tennis shoes or boots will be all you need for
What we need is for any of you who have 4-wheel drives to bring Saturday to
take them but also let us know now so we can plan.
Please e-mail me (jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx) immediately and tell me if you have
a 4-wheel you can bring
and how many birders you can comfortably take along. If you can take a
4-wheel and will be already
full with passengers, tell me that also. Tell me how many you will having
ride the jeep trail.
We will park cars at the parking area at the trail head in Fairwood, just
off the pavement and all load over into the 4-wheels and bird the four miles
This is a safe road. It is not narrow or challenging. It is just rough and
slow. Nothing daring or dangerous. Nothing scary about the riding or
driving. Just fun and beautiful. People pull campers behind their trucks
up to the top. You may take a truck if you like but it should not be too
low. There are a few wet drainage areas to cross.
We can comfortably take everyone up. There is a large, flat, well-manicured
grassy parking area at the top that is very spacious. You could park dozens
of vehicles there and still drive around the area.
AA vault toilet for bird trips.jpgThe Forest Service has a modern and
spacious men's and women's vault toilet at the parking area -- just like at
Whitetop Station on the Virginia Creeper Trail. The Appalachian Trail goes
across the open area where we rest for lunch.
Spruce grows in these high-country meadows where the Virginia Highlands
Horse Trail passes near the Appalachian Trail. Lovely wild orchids were
laced here and there by several timely-blooming orchids of two fascinating
Appalachian species. Patches of near lilac-colored fringed orchids grow
along the little watercourse and the Small Purple Fringed Orchid is there
You should expect no hiking or distance or rough walking.
We should hear or see Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Solitary Vireo,
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers on their breeding grounds, Black-capped Chickadee
(also Carolina Chickadee to make that point clear), Common Raven, Winter
Wren, Veery, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler,
Black-throated Blue Warbler, Canada Warbler, Ovenbird, and Least
Flycatcher and many other species along this route. Dark-eyed Juncos sing
in the woods and in the lush grass of the meadows.
This is beautiful country. It is wild and dramatic. It is a wilderness
This is the high country where the famous wild ponies live. You will be at
the spot where the Wilburn Ridge Wild Pony Association has rounded up ponies
down thru the years.
Let me know immediately if you can help provide a 4-wheel drive or adequate
transportation to the top.
Send an email if you plan to be going: