Frazier Discovery Trail, 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.

Description

Elevation: 2852 ft.

The Frazier Discovery Trail is a 1.3-mile loop taking the visitor to several picturesque overlooks on Loft Mountain. The trail passes through woodland of varying ages providing diverse species habitats. As you slowly climb the trail keep an eye out for eastern towhee rustling in the leaf litter. In the late summer, the adults are joined by their brood of curious young that will often hop into view. Another retiring skulker that may appear is the gray catbird. These are more often heard as they give their characteristic meowing from inside a dense bush. Warblers such as black-and-white, hooded and worm-eating should be listened and watched for. Depending on the time of year they may be singing or foraging with the more numerous Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice. The numerous flowering plants encountered along the trail entice a variety of butterflies. Search through the myriad of dark swallowtails for the slower flying red-spotted purple; or carefully inspect every bloom for the inconspicuous skippers, blues and hairstreaks.

Note: 

  • This trail is rated as easy by Shenandoah National Park, but could be considered moderate due to the steady uphill climb and rocky nature of the trail.

Directions

Skyline Drive Milepost: 79.5

From the Previous Site on the Skyline Drive Loop of VBWT:

From Rapidan Wildlife Management Area, return to Skyline Drive and turn south. Follow Skyline Drive 13.4 miles to the Loft Mountain Visitor Center. The trail begins across the street from the visitor’s center. Look for a large sign reading “Frazier Discovery Trail.”

Trail Directions:

  1. From the north end of the Loft Mountain Wayside Parking Area (mile 79.5), cross Skyline Drive and follow the blue-blazed Frazier Discovery Trail.
  2. Go right at the intersection and follow the steep uphill grade.
  3.  Turn left where the trail joins the Appalachian Trail, staying on the blue-blazed trail.
  4. Turn left again at the next trail post to descend to your starting point.

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 Frazier Discovery Trail, Shenandoah National Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Chimney Swift
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Blue Jay

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

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