Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Hardware River Wildlife Management Area

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWT: Be Safe While OutdoorsDWR encourages you to be safe while outdoors. Before heading out, first check with individual sites on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail for any COVID-19 policies or closures. This information is typically posted on a site's own website. Remember to maintain CDC social distancing guidelines while enjoying the outdoors.


Encompassed in the greater WMA, the Hardware River drains southeast out of the Appalachians and into the James River, just downstream from Scottsville. Two main entry points into the WMA take visitors through several acres of fields and riparian forest. The westernmost entrance (off Route 611) leads to a series of gated roads leading through a mosaic of young deciduous forest and open brushy fields. In this area, vibrant northern cardinals are constantly chipping or flitting across the path and you’re guaranteed to be scolded by white-eyed vireos lingering in the dense cover. During migration, keep a look out for migrant warblers such as magnolia.

The road winding into the eastern end of the WMA (Route 646) crosses the Hardware River just before it empties into the James River. Along this road look for northern bobwhite, and while on the bridge, be sure to scan the stream for great blue herons, wood ducks and the occasional eastern phoebe. Continuing to the James River boat landing, search the open fields for indigo buntings and blue grosbeaks and check any dense vegetation for common yellowthroats. The riparian forest overflows with woodland species such as Carolina wrens singing from the underbrush and American goldfinch perched high overhead. The moist areas along the riverbank are a favorite among question mark butterflies, as well as, occasional eastern tiger swallowtails and red-spotted purples. Dragonflies to look for along the banks include powdered dancers and American rubyspots.

A map of the Hardware River WMA is available on the DGIF website.


  • 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, except on Sundays. If you are visiting this site during hunting seasons, please wear blaze orange or blaze pink for safety.


From Scottsville, turn right onto Route 611 to access the western portion of the area. From 611, one parking area is to the left on Kidds Mill Road; another is at the end of Route 611. To access the eastern portion of the area and the boat ramp, continue east on Route 6 and turn right onto Route 646.

From the Previous Site on the James River Loop of VBWT:

From Dorrier Park, return to the intersection of Page and Main Street. Turn right on Main and follow it across SR 20 and continue east on SR 6. Follow SR 6 for approximately 3.8 miles to Rt. 611 and turn right. Continue for 2.3 miles to the end of the road. This is the western end of Hardware River WMA. To access the eastern portion, return to SR 6 and travel 2.6 miles to Rt. 646 and turn right. Follow Rt. 646 3.7 miles to the boat landing.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: DGIF Region 4 Office: 540-899-4169, BirdingTrail@dgif.virginia.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Daily. Restore the Wild Membership, hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Parking