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Shot Tower State Park (Access to New River Trail State Park)


Elevation: 1964 ft.

Overlooking the New River, the Shot Tower was built in the 1800s to make ammunition for the firearms of the early settlers. Interpretive signs provide details on the tower, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

For outdoor lovers, the 10 acre Shot Tower State Park serves as an access point for the New River Trail State Park, which centers itself around the Shot Tower. The park is located at milepost 25.2 from Pulaski, as the New River Trail meanders past the Jackson Ferry, traversing mostly through riparian woodlands. Wooded embankments are chiefly composed of poplars, magnolias and oaks, with occasional elms, beech and sumacs interspersed. Heavier canopy behind the shot tower houses Baltimore oriole, American redstart, white-eyed and warbling vireos and yellow-throated warbler. Numerous red-eyed vireo, indigo bunting and eastern phoebe can be found flitting along this riverine woodland trail. In the moist undergrowth of this heavily wooded forest, look for the dazzling ebony jewelwing damselfly. Occasionally, other dragon- and damselflies may be found safely perching on tree trunks, as well. As the water corridor cuts through southwest Virginia, it should be a good place to find migrant thrushes, tanagers, warblers and vireos in spring and fall. Over 24 species of warblers have been found here during migration, including blackpoll, cerulean, Cape May and palm warblers. Year-round, one can also expect to find green heron and belted kingfisher, but look for more avian fauna on the river during migration.


Address: 176 Orphanage Dr., Max Meadows, VA 24360

From I-81, take Exit #81 onto I-77; follow I-77 South 7.8 miles to Exit #24. Turn left onto SR 69 East and travel 0.3 miles to US 52. Turn left onto US 52 North; travel for 1.4 miles to Rt. 624. Turn left onto Rt. 624/Shot Tower Road and continue for 0.1 miles to the parking lot.


Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: VA Department of Conservation and Recreation: 276-699-6778;
  • Website
  • Access: Parking Fee. Parking lot and grounds open year-round, dawn to dusk. Tower open on scheduled days in Summer.

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Bike Trails
  • Fee
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms