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Charlotte State Forest

Description

Charlotte State Forest is comprised of 5,688 acres of old growth forest, managed timberland, wetlands, meadows, and waterways all located in Charlotte County. The Virginia Department of Forestry acquired the land over three years, with the last parcel purchased in 2023 and actively manages the property for sustainable timber production, demonstration of scientific forest management, applied forest research, diverse wildlife habitat, watershed protection, biological diversity, and passive outdoor recreation.

 In addition to wildlife viewing, Charlotte State Forest is also open to the public for hiking, hunting and trapping, fishing, paddling, mountain biking, and horseback riding. There are two parking areas, many miles of service roads and trails throughout the forest, and multiple walk-in access gates along its boundaries. The Greenwood Forest Road, accessed from either parking area, serves as a major artery connecting to most of the other roads and runs through all the habitats found here so it’s the ideal starting place.

The Greenwood Forest Road.

Listen for northern bobwhites and indigo buntings in the meadow along the Greenwood Forest Road. Photo Credit: Lisa Mease

Any time of year is good for a visit. The loblolly pine, and bottomland and upland hardwoods attract songbird species such as red-eyed vireo, blue-gray gnatcatcher, acadian flycatcher, eastern wood-pewee, yellow-throated warbler, scarlet tanager, and indigo bunting during the summer breeding season. Year-round residents include northern cardinals, Carolina wrens, tufted titmice, pine warblers, sparrows, and woodpeckers. Almost 800 acres of forested wetlands are prime waterfowl, long-legged wader, and amphibian habitat. Furthermore, Roanoke and Wards Fork Creek which flow into and converge on the property are home to the Virginia-threatened Carolina darter. The open grasslands and meadows are enjoyed by sparrows, American goldfinches, and northern bobwhites, as well as butterflies, moths, and other insects.

A great spangled fritillary.

The great spangled fritillary is just one of the pollinators seen here. Photo Credit: Lisa Mease

Notes:

  • While walking/hiking is free, a State Forest Use Permit is required for hunting, trapping, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding. These permits are required for individuals age 16 and older, and can be purchased on-line.
  • Hunting occurs at this site. If you are visiting during hunting seasons, please wear blaze orange or blaze pink for safety. 

Directions

Saxkey Road Trailhead Parking Coordinates: 36.9850000, -78.6286111

From Victoria, head west on VA-40 W/VA-49 S/Courthouse Road, turn right to stay on VA-40 W/Lunenberg County Road, in Keysville turn left onto VA-59 S/Merry Oaks Drive/Gethsemane Church Road/Saxkey Road, and the entrance to the parking area is on the right in approximately 9.7 miles.

 

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: (434) 995-8096, kirby.woolfolk@DOF.virginia.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Free (but see Notes in site description, Daily

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Bike Trails
  • Hiking Trails
  • Parking