If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, the Chesapeake Bay region is a great place to do it. Full of rich and diverse life, especially birds.. The Chesapeake Bay is home to over 250 species of birds. Spend some time down here and you are guaranteed to spot a strange bird.
You don’t have to go far to see some nature down here. A trip down the streams in the RivahHome free kayak, you’ll spot some lush spots and cool wildlife. But if you are looking for some hiking trails you can explore, here are some of the most popular…
Running though the cradle of the nation’s birthplace, the 21-site Coastal Northern Neck Loop of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail features a wide diversity of songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl, bald eagles and butterflies in a multitude of habitats—salt and freshwater marshes, croplands and open fields.
Remember to bring your camera! And some binoculars.
— HICKORY HOLLOW —
Hickory Hollow’s 254 acres of mixed pine-hardwood forest, ravines and Cabin Swamp form an important habitat for migratory songbirds, wild turkey and a rare plant. Cabin swamp is an exceptional quality wetland community that supports a very high diversity – perhaps 500 plant species – including several mountain disjuncts. read more
This preserve has public parking and a system of hiking trails. The preserve is open from sunrise to sunset.
From Kilmarnock, follow VA 3 towards Lancaster. Just before you reach Lancaster, turn right onto VA 604. The preserve is on your left.
For You: More than four miles of trails meander the forest. Picnic shelter available.
Watch For: Kingfishers, wild turkeys, migratory songbirds, and wood ducks are plentiful. Summer rains bring mushrooms and orchids.
Note: Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve is owned by the Northern Neck Audubon Society and managed in partnership with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
As you move on to Dameron Marsh and Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserves, detour to Kilmarnock for places to eat and accommodations.
Dameron Marsh. Photo by John Gresham, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Trails At Stratford Hall Plantation
Most of the Northern Neck is flat. Stratford Hall, on the cliffs of the Potomac River in Westmoreland County, is not. While it’s not exactly Old Rag Mountain, it provides a moderately strenuous workout as some of the trails wind their way through surprisingly hilly terrain. At least one of the trails provides breath taking views of the Potomac, and the Maryland shore, as it parallels the cliffs.
Stratford Hall’s nature trails are as varied as they are scenic, providing leisurely strolls for the amateur hiker and challenging treks for veterans. Most trails are navigable by most intermediate hikers. Trail maps are available upon request in the Visitor Center. Trails are newly marked, thanks to students from Forest Bluff Montessori School in Illinois who traveled all the way to Virginia to participate in this service project. (via NorthernNeckToday .com)
View Trails at NorthernNeckToday .com
Bush Mill Stream Wildlife Refuge
The Bush Mill Stream Wildlife Refuge is on the head waters of the Great Wicomico River in Northumberland County, accessible from State Route 642. Unlike Stratford, the terrain is flat and the trails are well marked.
This preserve is one of the Northern Neck’s many hidden gems. From the parking area, a well-marked trail descends from dry ridge forests to an observation deck overlooking Bush Mill Stream. The platform offers viewing opportunities of the rich, freshwater tidal marsh below. The marsh is alive year-round with great blue herons, other wading birds, bald eagles, osprey, and waterfowl such as wood ducks. Careful observation may reveal a river otter. The preserve is rarely crowded, creating an ideal wildlife-watching experience. A diversity of dragonflies, spring and fall migrant songbirds, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer can all be enjoyed here. (via NorthernNeckToday .com)
Nestled on a secluded peninsula at the confluence of Deep Creek and the Rappahannock River on Virginia’s Northern Neck, the Bel Air Mansion is the natural choice for a romantic getaway, family reunions, vacations, small meetings, retreats and conferences.
Beautiful 733-acre park with 7 miles of Rappahannock River shoreline.
Hiking, canoeing, bridle path, and boat rentals. Lancaster County, VA. 804-462-5030 or 800-933-PARK.
This 2,579 acres along the Potomac River has one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles on the East Coast. Bald eagle observation tours, picnicking,hiking trails, educational programs, information center and gift shop.
Route 218, King George County, VA. (540) 663-3861/(800) 933-PARK.
Facilities include boat ramp, hiking trails, sandy beach, pool, cabins, retreat lodge, campsites, and camping cabins.
The Potomac River Retreat at Westmoreland State Park offers an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this historic river. This unique abode is perfect for any occasion: reunions, meetings, retreats, conferences or just asimple vacation.
Westmoreland County, VA. (804) 493-8821/(800) 933-PARK