The Heart of Appalachia region boasts four of the state’s official Birding and Wildlife Trail System loops including Appalachian Wonders, Big Stone Gap, Lonesome Pine, Mountain Heritage, St. Paul, and Virginia’s westernmost trail, the Daniel Boone System.
Our region is a haven for wildlife, and therefore, naturalists too. Year round, these mountains provide extraordinary opportunities for birding, the Spring and Fall migrations, and wildlife watching. These DGIF trails are prime locations for spotting deer, wild turkey, fox, black bears, and the rare Hellbender salamander, as well as numerous species of warblers, thrushes, hawks, waterfowl, and bald eagles.
Nestled deep in the Heart of Appalachia is the Clinch River, the most bio-diverse river in the Northern Hemisphere, which creates a rich habitat supporting 46 different species, at least 24 of which are in danger of extinction. The Clinch River is habitat to rare mussels, colorful minnows and darters, and excellent sport fish.
The Heart of Appalachia’s verdant environment is teeming with rare and wonderful wildlife for those who seek it.