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C. F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area

Important Notices For This Site

C.F. Phelps WMA Planned Gate Closures and Impact to Rogers Ford Boat AccessThe gate near the sighting-in range will be closed according to the schedule below. This gate closure will prevent vehicular access to the Rogers Ford boat access site. The boat launch will remain open during these times, but will require users to walk approximately 1.5 miles.

Gate closure schedule:
  • CLOSED: Last Saturday in September to the 1st Saturday in January.
  • CLOSED: 2nd Saturday in April to the 3rd Saturday in May.


The Phelps Wildlife Management Area offers some opportunities not readily available other places. Bird-dog field trials are held here regularly, providing an experience in watching man’s friend at his best. Most of this management area’s 4,539 acres are forested, but over 1,000 of these acres are open, the result of their past use for agriculture. Additional openings are found within the area’s forested land. Most of the area is rolling with low hills and shallow valleys. The steepest land occurs near the State Scenic Rappahannock River which created the property’s sandy, level bottomland, and now forms much of the property’s western boundary. Several small streams cross the area and a three-acre pond is located near the center of the property. Probably the most interesting habitat feature is the 15-acre waterfowl impoundment, located along the Rappahannock River. The impoundment can be reached by taking Rt. 651 to Rt. 632 to the hunter access trail leading to the sighting-in range. From the parking area at the end of the trail, go through the gate and follow the main trail (bearing right and going down a hill) until reaching the impoundment, approx. 1/2 mile.

The large expanses of grassland provide opportunities here to see grassland birds that are attracted to the abundant habitat. Eastern kingbirds, purple martins, northern bobwhite, and eastern meadowlarks are all found here. During February and March, watch for the intricate courtship rituals of the American woodcock and the ‘peenting’ sounds that accompany their amazing spiral flights. In the wooded areas, most of the common woodpeckers occur. Toward the end of summer, near the river, visitors should watch for bald eagles feeding over the open water or perching in large trees along the banks. River otter are also a common visitor along the river. These playful creatures were once almost completely extirpated from Virginia, but now are increasing in population in many parts of the state.


  • To Access the Site: A Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
  • Hunting could be occurring at this site April 1 – May 31 and September 1 – February 28th. If you are visiting this site during hunting seasons, please wear blaze orange or blaze pink for safety.
  • No Trespassing signage around the range applies to the range only, not to adjacent trails.


Physical Address for range parking lot: 14430 Rogers Ford Rd, Sumerduck, VA 22742

Coordinates for range parking lot: 38.436785, -77.728875

From US-17, head west on Sumerduck Road/SR-651, turn left onto Rogers Ford Road/SR-632, and the range parking lot entrance is on the right in approximately 1.2 miles. See WMA map for other access points.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Virginia DWR - Region 4 office: 540-899-4169,
  • Website
  • Access: Daily. Restore the Wild Membership, hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Fee
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Parking
  • Primitive Camping