At the eastern end of Pleasant Grove Park’s Fluvanna Heritage Trail, step out onto the bluffs for a scenic panorama of the Rivanna River below and its sandy shoreline. Starting from the parking lot, the trail leads through open meadows loaded with indigo buntings, in the spring and summer, and sparrows in fall and winter. White-tailed deer may be seen, at any time, venturing out from under the cover of the adjacent forest to graze in the meadow. Along the meadow’s edges, northern mockingbirds can be heard imitating everyone in the forest, while northern cardinals and Carolina chickadees chatter nearby.
Continue through the open meadows to the mature deciduous forest and catch a glimpse of the massive pileated woodpeckers flashing overhead, or whittling a dead limb into a piece of art. Further inspection of the canopy could produce red-eyed vireos or eastern wood-pewees. As the trail meanders down from the bluff to the banks of the river, scan the trees for an eastern phoebe perched in the undergrowth quietly wagging its tail. The river itself is often alive with cacophonous belted kingfishers and families of wood ducks. While exploring the trail, visitors should watch for the numerous butterflies like the bold hackberry emperors which often perch on you in search of moisture. Don’t forget to also check for the subtle pattern of pearl crescents that flitter in the shadows.
A map of the trails at Pleasant Grove Park may be found on the Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation website.
Location: Trailhead Dr., Palmyra, VA 22963
From Palmyra, head west on State Rte 601 toward US-15 S. Turn left onto US-15 S and continue 0.4 miles. Turn right onto VA-53 and travel 0.4 miles. Turn right onto Trailhead Dr., entering Pleasant Grove Park.
From Charlottesville, take VA-20/ Monticello Ave south towards VA-53 E/ Thomas Jefferson Pkwy. Turn left onto VA-53 E/ Thomas Jefferson Pkwy. Travel 14.2 miles. At the traffic circle, continue straight onto VA-53 E and go another 3.7 miles. Turn left onto Trailhead Dr., entering Pleasant Grove Park.
To return to I-64, return to SR 53, turn right, and follow this state scenic highway west to SR 20. Turn right on SR 20 and I-64 is straight ahead. From here you can follow I-64 west to US 29. Turn south onto US 29 and begin the James River Loop.
Location & DirectionsView on Google Maps
- Site Contact: Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation: 434-589-2016, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Access: Free, open daily
Birds Recently Seen at Fluvanna Heritage Trail – East, Pleasant Grove Park (as reported to eBird)
- Turkey Vulture
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- White-eyed Vireo
- American Crow
- Fish Crow
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
- Carolina Wren
- Black-and-white Warbler
- American Redstart
- Cape May Warbler
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Bike Trails
- Hiking Trails