The 1.5 mile-out-and-back Powell Creek Nature Trail at James River National Wildlife Refuge meanders along the hills and valleys of the Powell Creek watershed. A crushed gravel trail, dotted by mountain laurel and mature oaks, descends into the floodplain forest habitat alongside Powell Creek. At the bottom of the hill, a short crossing over a dike offers a glimpse of the surrounding marsh and access to a small island on the creek. The trail’s back loop encircles this small island through a loblolly pine forest on a soft, pine needle strewn trail, flanked by cinnamon and Christmas ferns. On the island’s east side, a small platform provides a view of the marsh.
The entire Powell Creek Nature Trail offers the opportunity to see a variety of birds and other wildlife. Pileated woodpeckers thrive in the mixed hardwood forest searching for insects. Bald eagles announce their presence overhead either perched in trees or flying. Colorful wood duck may bound out of the marsh’s cover and momentarily disrupt the solitude. Prothonotary warblers can be seen darting from tree to tree along the creeks edge. A flock of wild turkey may strut by if conditions are right. Spring and fall bring migrating neotropical songbirds who stopover in this habitat for its food and protective cover. During warm months, careful observers may also see butterflies, turtles, and frogs. Turtles typically bask in the mid-day sun on logs in the marsh. During wet spring months, frogs may be observed around a seasonal vernal pool near the trail’s entrance. White-tailed deer are present year-round and most likely observed in the morning and before dusk.
A kayak/canoe launch provides the opportunity to explore the creek’s waters for birds and wildlife along the shore. Trail dimensions allow for use of a handheld canoe carrier.
- Visitors are to stay on marked trails and designated structures located along the passages.
- Pets and bicycles are not allowed at the Refuge.
- Handicap access, by vehicle, down to the canoe/ kayak launch is available with advance permission and a Special Use Permit. (See Refuge website for details).
- For transporting canoe/kayaks to the launch by vehicle, advance permission and a Special Use Permit is required (See Refuge website for details).
Physical Address: 4550 Flowerdew Hundred Rd, Hopewell, VA 23860
From the intersection of Route 10/ James River Dr and State Route 639/ Flowerdew Hundred Rd, travel north one mile on State Route 639/ Flowerdew Hundred Rd. Turn left at the “Nature Trail and Parking” sign.
From the previous site on the Appomattox Loop of the VBWT:
From R. Garland Dodd Park at Points of Rocks, head north toward State Route 746. Turn right onto State Route 746. Turn right onto Point of Rocks Rd and continue 1.9 miles. Turn right onto VA-10 E and drive 10.9 miles. Turn left onto State Route 639/ Flowerdew Hundred Rd. Turn left at the “Nature Trail and Parking” sign.
Location & DirectionsView on Google Maps
- Site Contact: 804-829-9020, Fw5rw_evrnwr@fws.gov
- Access: free, open year-round, sunrise to sunset
Birds Recently Seen at James River National Wildlife Refuge (as reported to eBird)
- Canada Goose
- Red-shouldered Hawk
- Belted Kingfisher
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
- Pileated Woodpecker
- Eastern Phoebe
- American Crow
- Carolina Chickadee
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Hiking Trails
- Kayak/Canoe Launch
- Observation Platform