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New River Trail State Park – Ivanhoe Birding Trail

Description

Elevation: 2100ft

The New River is a gem of natural and historical significance, filled with stunning vistas of the Appalachian Mountains. Nestled within the 57-mile-long New River Trail State Park is the Ivanhoe Birding Trail, a wildlife viewing destination that opened in spring 2024. The 55-acre property has 2.5 miles of trail, lined with colorful interpretive signs about local avian wildlife. The trail can be reached by foot, horseback, bike, or golf cart with an accessibility permit through the DCR.

The birding trail is a mix of hardwood forest, shrubby fields, and riverine wetlands. For butterfly and bird lovers alike, this trail is a treasure. Abundant eastern tiger, giant, spicebush, and black swallowtail flit between wildflowers while monarch butterflies meander milkweed meadows. Listen for the “cow-cow-cow” of the yellow-billed cuckoo or the squeaks, squawks, and chatters of the yellow-breasted chat. Both Baltimore and orchard orioles nest in the treetops, singing their melodious tunes, while the northern waterthrush patrols the bank of the New River, visible from the education pavilion where free bird walks and ranger-led programs occur throughout the year. Visitors curious about the natural world can take a peek at their free lending library, a resource of wildlife guides on everything from birds and amphibians to insects and trees.

Take note of the famous “Chiswell’s Hole,” viewable during the winter from the banks of the New River. Colonial House of Burgesses member John Chiswell used the natural cavern as a place of refuge, discovering mineral deposits that were mined for over 200 years, until the 1980s. Remnants of the mining history are evident in the tall material piles seen along the rail trail. Since the site became a park 40 years ago, the area has been reclaimed by fast-growing trees and shrubs, making it a suitable home for wildlife.

Notes: 

  • There is no parking lot directly associated with this site. Please see the directions below for more information on where to park and how to access the site. 

Directions

Trailhead Parking Coordinates (Ivanhoe Entrance, New River State Park): 36.839272, -80.953798. 

Trailhead Address: 356 Riverview Rd, Ivanhoe, VA 24350.

Ivanhoe Birding Trailhead Coordinates: 36.846524, -80.938963. 

From Fort Chiswell, take VA-94S/Ivanhoe Rd for 9.7 miles. Turn left on State Route 639/Riverview Road, follow it for a quarter mile before turning right into the parking lot. The Ivanhoe Birding Trail is approximately 1.2 miles north from the parking lot trailhead. 

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: 276-699-6778; NewRiverTrail@dcr.virginia.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Fee, daily.

Birds Recently Seen at New River Trail State Park – Ivanhoe Birding Trail (as reported to eBird)

  • Canada Goose
  • Wild Turkey
  • Mourning Dove
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • White-eyed Vireo
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Red-eyed Vireo

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Bike Trails
  • Fee
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Historical Site