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Lake Moomaw

Description

Elevation: 1634 ft.

Lake Moomaw’s location adjacent to the T. M. Gathright Wildlife Management Area weaves in another set of habitats, escalating the observer’s chance to see even more wildlife. The large reservoir, formed by damming the Jackson River, provides opportunities to see numerous open water and shoreline species at several access points. Bolar Mountain Recreation Area on the northern end of the lake has campgrounds, a boat ramp, beach, and 11 miles of hiking trails with two scenic overlooks: Islands Overlook Spur and Grouse Point Overlook. Cole’s Point is at the southern end, close to Gathright Dam, and has similar wildlife viewing potential as the Bolar Mountain area, but it’s well worth the drive. There is a concrete path heading into the trees from the boat launch parking lot. It leads to an accessible overlook with a commanding view of the lake. A fire road into the eastern tract of the WMA intersects Coles Point Drive at 37.954368, -79.957931.

Scan the lake for waterfowl and bald eagles from the accessible overlook at Cole's Point. Photo Credit: Lisa Mease

Scan the lake for waterfowl and bald eagles from the accessible overlook at Cole’s Point. Photo Credit: Lisa Mease

The open fields and scrubby woodland next to the lake provide ample habitat for indigo bunting, eastern kingbird, ruby-throated hummingbird, American goldfinch, and blue-gray gnatcatcher. Upon moving closer to the water, the visitor enters the reservoir’s drawdown zone, an area of natural variation between high and low water. This is prime habitat for innumerable dragonflies; Halloween pennant, yellow-legged meadowhawk, eastern amberwing and widow skimmer zip around in large numbers. Examine the shoreline carefully. Lake Moomaw has 43.5 miles of shoreline, so this could take some time, but the rewards are surely worth the effort. From January through July, bald eagles nest along the shores of the reservoir. During migration, numerous species of shorebird are possible with solitary, spotted and least sandpipers being the most likely. During the summer months, great blue and green herons frequent the various inlets, as do vocal killdeer. The open water itself could host a variety of waterfowl at any time intermixed with the resident Canada geese. Careful examination can turn up the occasional oddity such as American coot and even common loon.

Directions

Physical Address of Bolar Mountain Recreation Area: 756 Twin Ridge Dr, Warm Springs, VA 24484

From Warm Springs, head west on VA-39 W/Mountain Valley Rd, turn left onto VA-687/Jackson River Tpk, turn right onto State Rte 603/Richardson Gorge Rd, continue onto SR-603/Bolars Draft Rd, turn left onto Twin Ridge Dr and follow it to a parking area.

GPS Coordinates of Cole’s Point Parking Lot: 37.947517, -79.968378

From Warm Springs, head south on US-220/Sam Snead Hwy, turn right onto SR-615/Main St in Hot Springs, continue onto VA-687/Jackson River Tpk, turn right onto SR-638/Natural Well Rd, turn right onto SR-666/E. Morris Hill Rd, turn right onto SR-605/Coles Mountain Rd and follow it to a parking area.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: Warm Springs District Ranger (540) 839-2521
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, day use fee at both locations

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Bike Trails
  • Camping
  • Fee
  • Food
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Viewing Blinds
  • Boat Ramp
  • Beach