Elevation: 3548 ft.
Appropriately named, Warbler Road traverses 13 miles of old-growth hardwood forests, hemlock-lined trout streams, open meadows and clearings, and pine stands. From the overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Warbler Road’s end at the James River, the altitude of this road descends a total of 2700 feet. The variation of habitat and elevation make this site a particularly attractive birding venue.
Warbler Road Driving Route:
This drive, from Sunset Field Overlook to the James River, is referred to as “Warbler Road.” From the parking lot of Sunset Field Overlook (Milepost 78.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway), take FR-812 for 5.8 miles and turn left onto FR-768. After 2.7 miles, turn right onto FR-59/North Creek Road and follow this road for 2.9 miles to Rt. 614. Turn right onto Rt. 614 and drive 1.6 miles to the James River.
At high elevations, nesting neotropical migrants include Canada, chestnut-sided, black-throated blue, and Blackburnian warblers, as well as veery, rose-breasted grosbeak, and ruffed grouse. Occasionally, least flycatcher or black-billed cuckoo will nest within these woodlands. Middle elevations can be productive for cerulean and worm-eating warblers. Hillside clearings can produce Kentucky and prairie warblers, yellow-breasted chat, and possibly golden-winged warbler. At lower elevations, look for northern parula and black-throated green warbler. Spring migration is a spectacular season to search for migrant passerines. In the spring, in addition to finding the plethora of nesting songbirds hoping to establish territories, you may spy blackpoll, Cape May, and Tennessee warblers. Other wildlife abounds, so while on this driving tour, keep an eye out for the numerous white-tailed deer, the sly red fox, or a slithering black rat snake crossing the road.
- FR-768 and FR-812 are unpaved, narrow, and winding. High-clearance and 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended, especially on FR-768.
- Pit toilets are available at the North Creek Campground.
Starting Point Location: Sunset Field Overlook, Milepost 78.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Ending Point Location: James River, Arcadia Boat Launch at 1738 Arcadia Rd, Buchanan, VA 24066
To the Sunset Field Overlook from Lynchburg, VA:
From State Rt 684 in Lynchburg, VA, turn left onto State Rt 766/ Dillard Rd. Turn left onto VA-130 W/Elon Rd/ Virginia Byway and continue 16 miles. Turn right towards Blue Ridge Parkway, then at the first cross street, turn left onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Continue 16.9 miles to milepost 78.4.