Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWT: Be Safe While OutdoorsDWR encourages you to be safe while outdoors. Before heading out, first check with individual sites on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail to find out whether they are still open to the public. Information regarding closures is typically posted on a site's own website. Be advised that some sites, even if still open, may have certain public facilities closed during this time. If a site is still open, maintain CDC social distancing guidelines while enjoying the outdoors.


Elevation: 3548 ft.

Big Meadows is aptly named since it’s the largest open area in the entire park. The meadows location directly across from the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center makes it easily accessible. The large grassy plain makes a fresh change from the forest landscape. The meadows host numerous sparrows with chipping, field and song sparrows all being numerous and easy to spot. Other residents of the meadow include eastern bluebird, indigo bunting, eastern towhee and American goldfinch. The clear open view of the sky makes raptor watching easy. Look for turkey and black vultures, red-tailed hawk and American kestrel. During migration large numbers of broad-winged hawks and the occasional bald or golden eagle can augment these species.

Big Meadows is incredible for the butterfly enthusiast. The acres of blooming wildflowers support a wide assortment of species including eastern tiger, black, pipevine and spicebush swallowtails, great spangled and variegated fritillaries, silver spotted skipper, common wood-nymph, orange sulphur and American copper. Dragonflies are less numerous although black saddlebags can often be seen skimming across the meadow.


Skyline Drive Milepost: 51

From the Previous Site on the Skyline Drive Loop of VBWT:

From the Dark Hollow Falls trail in Shenandoah National Park, the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center is directly across the street.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Shenandoah National Park: (540) 999-3500
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission fee

10 Most Recent Bird Observations Added to eBird

  • Mourning Dove
  • Killdeer
  • American Woodcock
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Northern Harrier
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Barred Owl
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker

Seasonal Bird Observations


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