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Paddy Knob Lookout

Description

Located along the ridgeline that forms the West Virginia/Virginia border, Paddy Knob Lookout peaks at an elevation of 4477 feet. Birdsong can be heard even before reaching the top, so drive slowly with the windows down along Forest Road 55 to hear uncommon species such as the least flycatcher, veery, and maybe even the elusive cerulean warblers. Surrounded by mature hardwood forests with a lush sassafras understory, and blackberry-bush edges, this site is best known among birders for housing unusual breeding species in Virginia, such as mourning warbler, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and black-billed cuckoo. Other breeding birds within these forests include the carolinensis subspecies of the dark-eyed junco local to the Appalachian mountains, cedar waxwing, American redstart, and black-throated blue and black-throated green warblers. In the fall, migrating raptors, especially broad-winged hawks, can be seen flying overhead in large numbers. The abundance of sassafras attracts spicebush swallowtail, but also look for eastern tiger swallowtail, red admiral, great spangled fritillary and pipevine swallowtail. Other wildlife encounters could include wild turkey, ruffed grouse, black bear, red fox, and white-tailed deer.

Notes:

  • The coordinates below point to the eBird Paddy Knob Lookout hotspot in West Virginia, which is the third path off FR-55. Only 4WD/AWD with at least 10″ of clearance should attempt to drive this path because of tall grass and mud puddles. Otherwise, park along FR-55 and walk to the open area.
  • The first two paths off FR-55 both lead to the eBird Paddy Knob (Virginia side of the ridge) hotspot. Only vehicles specifically modified for overlanding/off-roading should attempt to drive these paths because of large, deep mud puddles, tall grass, and uneven terrain. Otherwise, park along FR-55 and walk to the open area.

Directions

Physical Coordinates: 38.263660, -79.800340

From Monterey, head south on US-220 S/Jackson River Rd for 3.9 miles, turn right onto VA-84 W, in approximately 14.9 miles directly across from the “Welcome to West Virginia” sign (but still in Virginia), turn left onto FR 55, and continue 3.4 miles to Paddy Knob.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: (540) 839-2521 psheridan@fs.fed.us
  • Access: Free, Daily

Birds Recently Seen at Paddy Knob Lookout (as reported to eBird)

  • Mourning Dove
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Veery

Seasonal Bird Observations