Hillsville, an aptly named town set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, was originally settled in the late 1820s. The small town of approximately 2,600 inhabitants has a historic section that includes the Carroll County Courthouse, among other 19th century buildings. The region also is home to an abundance of outdoor recreation options, including the Beaver Dam Creek Walking Trail, a path which showcases the splendor of Hillsville's natural surroundings.
An In-Town Walk
The Beaver Dam Creek Walking Trail, part of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail System, stretches 3 miles from Beaver Dam Road in North Hillsville to Carter Pines Community Park near the Carroll Wellness Center. The trailhead, located on Beaver Dam Road less than 0.5 miles east of the Carroll County Public Library, has a small parking area. Trail users are also welcome to start their hike at Carter Pines Community Park and walk the other way.
Water, Woods and Wildflowers
Open daily from sunup to sundown, the Beaver Dam Creek Walking Trail has a mulch base, is mostly level and is lined with timbers for most of the way. The trail's first section follows the namesake waterway for about three-quarters of a mile, providing up-close views of the creek and the brushy scrub situated along the banks. In addition, there are vistas of adjacent open meadows on this leg of the trail. The trail also winds through woodland areas, including riparian hardwood habitats, and is lined by wildflowers in some spots.
A Wildlife Haven
On your hike along the Beaver Dam Creek Walking Trail you are likely to glimpse a variety of animal species. The path is a haven for birdwatchers, who can keep an eye out for American goldfinch, red-wing blackbirds, bobwhite, bunting, meadowlark and song sparrows. Other possibilities include brown thrashers, eastern towhee, hawks and wild turkeys. Among the other wildlife you might see on your walk are white-tailed deer, chipmunks, woodchucks, black rat snakes, frogs and butterflies.
Attractions Near the Trail
During your visit to the Beaver Dam Creek Walking Trail, you might want to take in a few of the area's other attractions. In Hillsville, learn about the area's history at the Carroll County Historical Society and Museum -- set in the circa-1873 Carroll County Courthouse -- or browse for a variety of local produce, jams and crafts at the Southwest Virginia Farmers Market. You could also visit Shot Tower Historical State Park in Austinville, less than 13 miles north of Hillsville. Here, you can tour a historic limestone fortress built in 1807 and access the 57-mile New River Trail, which includes numerous campsites, two tunnels and more than 30 bridges and trestles.