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Carvins Cove Natural Reserve


Elevation: 1174 ft.

Carvins Cove Recreation Area is a 13,000-acre watershed with a 600-acre reservoir. In addition to being a popular birding and boating spot among the local members of the community, this site also possesses great potential as a venue for wildlife watching. Several trails can be accessed from the main entrance so be sure to ask for a trail map at the office that you can also use at site 4 on the upper side of the reservoir. The open waters and surrounding mudflats can provide excellent views of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, including gulls and terns. In the summer, belted kingfisher, green heron, double-crested cormorant, spotted sandpiper, and fly-over barn swallow patrol this reservoir and its edges. In the winter, look for bufflehead, common loon, occasionally common merganser, and even bald eagle. The surrounding woodlands are comprised of hardwood forests, pine stands, and mixed hardwoods. Within these wooded areas, look for resident great horned owl, wild turkey, and red-tailed hawk. In the summer, look for nesting species such as scarlet tanager, worm-eating warbler, yellow-breasted chat, great crested flycatcher, and whip-poor-will. Dragonfly diversity can be spectacular on a hot summer day. Look for widow and slaty skimmers, black saddlebags, prince baskettail, common green darner, and eastern amberwing. Butterflies flit among blooming wildflowers in colorful array; look for eastern tiger swallowtail, red-spotted purple, silver-spotted skipper, and great spangled fritillary.


Physical Address: 9644 Reservoir Rd, Roanoke VA, 24019

From I-81 N take exit 146 onto SR-115 towards Hollins, Cloverdale. In 0.2 miles turn right onto Plantation Rd. In 0.9 miles turn left onto Williamson Rd. In 1.2 miles turn left onto SR-648. Drive for 2.5 miles and arrive at the Carvins Cove Boat Landing at the Reservoir. 

Access via the Hinchee Trail is available at 1918 Dutch Oven Rd.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: (540) 362-1757
  • Website
  • Access: Admission Fee, Open Daily, Boat landing is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

Birds Recently Seen at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve (as reported to eBird)

  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Wood Thrush

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Bike Trails
  • Fee
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Parking
  • Phone
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Canoe/Kayak Rentals
  • Boat Ramp