Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.


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

Birds Recently Seen at Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Common Raven
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • American Crow
  • American Robin
  • Song Sparrow
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • American Woodcock

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Camping
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Fee
  • Food
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Lodging
  • Parking
  • Phone
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms