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Appalachian Wonders


Located within the Cumberland Plateau, the Appalachian Wonders Loop is a haven for naturalists, and in particular, birders. With 24 species of breeding warblers, Wise County can be a phenomenal venue for bird-watching. It’s not just the warblers that make this area a birding treasure—there are many other nesting bird species that make this region their summering home. Places like High Knob Lake can offer an evening serenade of four species of thrushes! Maturing forests juxtaposed to early succession growth of reclaimed strip mines at high elevations are likely to attract a large number of habitat-specific breeding migrants. Look for unusual species or rarities, such as Kirtland’s warbler at Wise Reservoir, during spring migration. In addition to a rich bird life, these areas are home to a diversity of flora, salamanders, insects, and mammals, including foxes and even black bear. The Appalachian Wonders Loop will lead you to discover an area rich with history, cultural expression and outdoor recreation.

This webpage was designed in partnership with the Virginia Bird and Wildlife trail program which is the first of its kind within the United States, the VBWT is our state’s list of 65 loops  and 680 sites that connect all the best wildlife viewing locations within Virginia providing a vast diversity of well maintained hiking routes through a variety of habitats to see everything from bald eagles to butterflies. As well as historical places such as the birthplaces of presidents and 12 million year old fossils. Explore our natural wonders, walk the trails and see what you can discover every site mentioned is a wonder to behold and a little piece of our state’s beauty.

Loop Map

Click the image to open a PDF of the Appalachian wonders loop


Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority

Scott County Chamber of Commerce

Wise County Chamber of Commerce