Smith Mountain Lake and the rest of the Blue Ridge Mountain region are famous for their gorgeous natural environments, brimming with picturesque landscapes and a diverse range of wildlife. Below, we’ve put together a brief list of just a handful of the top places you and your guests can go to see wildlife during your Smith Mountain Lake vacation.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park

Like much of the Roanoke Valley, Smith Mountain Lake and its state park enjoy an abundance of bird species and woodland Virginia wildlife such as deer and bears. However, being located on the lake gives this state park special access to raptors and waterfowl, from bald eagles to herons, which come to eat the lake’s many varieties of fish (which you can see and catch for yourself while fishing out on the lake).

Appalachian Trail

An hour northwest of Smith Mountain Lake is the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest—home to part of the Appalachian Trail, which has incredible hiking and nature-viewing trails. The entirety of the Appalachian Trail spans over 2,000 miles and is the longest marked footpath in the country. The trail is home to over 2,000 rare, sensitive, threatened, and endangered plants and animals at upwards of 535 sites.

Blue Ridge Parkway

If you’d rather see wildlife from the comfort of your car than on foot, you can access the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in Roanoke. While the entire road is far too long for a day trip (spanning nearly 470 miles and linking several national parks), you can always take a short drive to Peaks of Otter and other notable spots nearby to soak up the atmosphere and wild animals in Virginia.

Natural Bridge State Park

This breathtaking natural site only recently became a state park in 2016, but its profound beauty and myriad of wildlife have captured the imagination of people (including Thomas Jefferson) since Colonial times. The park is a stop on the Virginia Birding & Wildlife Trail.

More Wild Animals in Virginia in Explore Park

Located in Roanoke, Explore Park is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The park has upwards of 14 miles of hiking, and mountain biking trails that are well-known for their plethora of wildlife in Virginia. Pair your wildlife viewing with a side of historical homes and buildings that have been reconstructed onsite.

Premier Vacation Rentals – Your Gateway to Adventure

Learn more details about these fantastic wildlife watching spots and other cool attractions and activities you can experience in Smith Mountain Lake when you contact our office to ask about reserving your lodgings through us today!