Dan River Basin Association plans July First Saturday Outing hike at Smart View Loop Trail

The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) invites the public to participate in its First Saturday Outing on July 3: a 3.5-mile hike on the Smart View Loop Trail in the Smart View Recreation Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mile Marker 154.5; GPS 36.926066, -80.191138. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at the public parking lot adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Marker 154.5. Coordinator for the outing is Wayne Kirkpatrick, an avid hiker and DRBA board member.

Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Smart View Recreational Area offers excellent views of the Virginia Piedmont. The natural surface, moderate rated, trail meanders through moist deciduous woodlands, hardwood forests, and open fields. This site is great place to bird during spring migration, but summer also is productive with breeders such as hooded, Kentucky, and black-and white warblers, Acadian and great-crested flycatchers, blue-gray gnatcatcher, yellow-throated and red-eyed vireos, chipping sparrow, brown thrasher, and scarlet tanager. The big lure for most birders to this site is the breeding population of cerulean warbler. Moist forest floors lend themselves to other critters, as well. Look for red eft, the bright orange terrestrial form of the red-spotted newt, as well as eastern box turtle, and several species of colorful millipedes. Eastern chipmunk, red squirrel, red fox, and white-tailed deer are common throughout. Also watch for wild turkey roaming through these woods.

Participants in the outing are asked to bring lunch, water and hiking poles and wear hiking boots or walking shoes. Dress in layers of synthetic fabric or wool and be prepared for wind or rain. All participants will be asked to sign a waiver. Outings and meetings of the Dan River Basin Association are free and open to the public.

DIRECTIONS: To reach the trail head parking area, from the intersection of Rt. 8 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, turn north on the Parkway and drive 10.5 miles, and turn right to access the parking area. From Martinsville, VA, (this is an hour and forty-five minute, 42.5 mile, very winding, scenic drive) take Rt. 57 west, turn right onto Iron Bridge Road (Rt. 704), turn right onto Rt. 40 east, turn left onto Rt. 860, turn right onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive 4.5 miles to Mile Marker 154.5, turn right to access the parking area.