T. M. Gathright Wildlife Management Area

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.

Description

Elevation: 1829 ft.

T. M. Gathright Wildlife Management Area stretches along the Alleghany Mountains to the West Virginia State Line. Along Rt. 600, numerous opportunities present themselves to park and walk up into the mountains from the road. This access facilitates wildlife watching opportunities in a variety of habitats and altitudinal zones. In the forest close to the road, the woods are filled with yellow poplar, white pine and paw-paw which, in turn, attract many woodland species including red-bellied and pileated woodpeckers, acadian flycatcher, eastern wood pewee, white-breasted nuthatch, red-eyed, blue-headed, and yellow throated vireo, and eastern towhee. Look to the roadside meadows for black-eyed Susan, crown vetch and Queen Anne’s lace, which attract eastern tiger swallowtails and silver-spotted skippers in droves. These open areas are also frequented by indigo buntings, which can often be seen singing from high prominent perches. In late summer, the meadows host the aptly-named Halloween pennant as they cruise the wildflowers in search of a meal. For the more adventurous, the higher elevations of the WMA are accessible through a number of challenging uphill hikes. These hikers can be rewarded with sightings of scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak and a number of warblers including cerulean, hooded, black-throated green and black-throated blue.

Notes:

  • To Access the Site: A Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
  • Hunting could be occurring at this site April 1 – May 31 and September 1 – February 28th, except on Sundays. If you are visiting this site during hunting seasons, please wear blaze orange or blaze pink for safety.

Directions

Physical Address: T. M. Gathright Wildlife Management Area, Hot Springs, VA 24445

From I 581 N/US 220 N in Roanoke, continue for 5.4 miles. Then, take exit 1N to merge onto I 81 N/US 220 N toward Lexington. In 6.8 miles, take exit 150B for US 11 N/US 220 N toward Troutville/Fincastle. Keep right to follow signs for US 220 N/Fincastle and merge onto US 11/US 220. In 0.3 miles, turn right onto US 220 N. After 34.3 miles, keep right and follow signs for US 60/US 220 N/I 64/Covington/Lexington and merge onto US 220 S/US 60 BUS E. In 0.6 miles, turn right onto I 64 E/US 60 E and continue for 1.5 miles. Then, take exit 29 for SR 42 N toward SR 269 E. In 16.5 miles, turn left onto SR 39 W followed by a left onto US 220 S in 13.0 miles. Turn right onto SR 39 W and continue for 11.2 miles. Turn left onto SR 600 and continue to find pullout areas on either side.

From I 64 in Charlottesville/Waynesboro, continue west. Take the I 81 S exit toward I 64 W/Lexington/Roanoke and merge onto I 64 W/I 81 S. In 0.6 miles, take exit 220 for SR 262 toward US 11 and continue onto SR 262 N. In 4.2 miles, take the SR 254/Parkersburg Pike exit. In 0.3 miles, turn left onto SR 254 W and then continue for 49.4 miles onto SR 42 S followed by SR 39 W. Turn left onto US 220 S and then right onto SR 39 W. In 11.2 miles, turn left onto SR 600 and continue to find pullout areas on either side.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries - Region 4 Office: 540-248-9360, birdingtrail@dgif.virginia.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Daily. Restore the Wild Membership, hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Camping
  • Hiking Trails
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Primitive Camping