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James River Heritage Trail at Percival’s Island Natural Area


Elevation: 493 ft.

Located along the James River in eastern Lynchburg, Percival’s Island Natural Area houses the trailhead for the James River Heritage Trail, which includes Blackwater Creek Natural Area and Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve. The vista of the James River from Percival’s Island Natural Area makes it a good spot to look for migrating species along the river. In the fall, it is not uncommon for onlookers to find osprey, bald eagle, double-crested cormorant, and even peregrine falcon. Waterfowl and shorebirds might be spied during migration, with winter being the best time to find bufflehead and American black duck. The woodlands are primarily composed of oak, hickory, and maple, with a few large sycamore along the riverbank. Trails meander throughout these woodlands, and are probably most productive for passerine diversity in migration. Blooming wildflowers offer a spectacular array of color. In the spring and summer, look for fire pink, dwarf-crested iris, black-eyed Susan, and an assortment of milkweeds. Watch for butterflies fluttering about these blooms; look for eastern tiger swallowtail, red-spotted purple, and silver-spotted skipper.


From US 29 South in Lynchburg, cross the James River and take Exit #1/Main Street. Turn right onto Main Street; travel for 0.2 miles to Washington Street. Turn right onto Washington Street and continue 0.1 miles, crossing the railroad tracks to Percival’s Island Natural Area, the trailhead for the James River Heritage Trail.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: (434) 847-1640
  • Website
  • Access: Free, Daily

Birds Recently Seen at James River Heritage Trail at Percival’s Island Natural Area (as reported to eBird)

  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Canada Goose
  • Mallard
  • Common Merganser
  • Chimney Swift
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Bike Trails
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Picnic