Birchleaf is located approximately 5 miles SE of the town of Haysi, Virginia. The Russell Fork of the Levisa River runs through the center of the community. Frequent flooding of this river has resulated in a floodplain in which most of the community is located.
One of the most destructive floods occurred in 1977, the infamous "Flood of '77" as referred to by local residents. Over $20 million in damage occurred to this and other small communities along the Russell Fork River in April 1977.