Powhatan State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Lovely 1,565-acre Powhatan State Park was formed when, in 2003, space along the James River was transferred from the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for the creation of the state park. The purpose in creating the park was to provide access to state park facilities in central Virginia and to create both day-use and overnight facilities on the James River.

The park which provides access and views of the James River, offers guests a variety of outdoor activities. The park provides guests the use of five trails. The trails total just over seven miles and are intended for multi-use (hiking, biking, horse riding). The trails meander through a number of diverse habitats including field edge, upland pine, and mature hardwoods. The trails provide opportunities for viewing wildlife.

The park makes approximately two and a half miles of James River waterfront accessible through use of a canoe slide launch. Guests launching a canoe or kayak from the park may enjoy a 5ive-mile float down river to the Maidens boat launch.

Powhatan State Park offers a canoe-in campground which is accessible via the James River. This campground provides six primitive (no electricity or water) camping sites. There are restroom facilities but no bathhouses.

The park also boasts a full-service campground, opened on November 1, 2016. The campground includes a bathhouse, offers electric and water hookup, and can accommodate RV’s up to 80 feet in length. The park provides a dump station near the campground for those with campers and RVs.

Powhatan State Park also provides guest the use of three large picnic shelters. Each has picnic tables and a charcoal grill. None has electricity or water. Two of the picnic areas have accessible playground areas. All have restroom facilities.

RV Rentals in Powhatan State Park

Transportation in Powhatan State Park

Driving

The park's address is:

POWHATAN STATE PARK
4616 Powhatan State Park Road
Powhatan VA 23139

Guests will find the park a drive from Northern Virginia, two hours; Richmond, 45 minutes; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, two and a half hours; Roanoke, three hours

The park can be easily found following I-95 north of Richmond: Take Interstate 64 west to Route 288 south to Route 711 west (Huguenot Trail). Stay on 711 for about 13 miles until reaching Rt. 522 (Maidens Rd.). Turn right and drive about four miles to Route 617 west (Old River Trail). Turn left and go about one and a half miles to the park entrance on the right.
From 64 west of Richmond: From I-64 take exit 159 to Gum Springs-Goochland and follow Route 522-S to the where it joins Route 6. Turn left at the stoplight onto Route 522-S and Route 6-E, then turn right onto Maidens Road (Route 522-S) and go about two miles. Next, turn right onto Route 617 (Old River Trail) and go about one and a half miles. The park entrance is on the right.
From 64 east of Richmond: Take Interstate 64 west through Richmond to Route 288 south and exit onto Route 711 west (Huguenot Trail). Stay on 711 for about 13 miles until reaching Rt. 522 (Maidens Rd.). Turn right and drive about four miles to Route 617 west (Old River Trail). Turn left and go about one and a half miles to the park entrance on the right.
From Interstate 95 south of Richmond: Take Interstate Route 288 north to Route 60 west. At Route 522 north, turn (Maidens Road) and go about seven miles to Route 617 west (Old River Trail). Turn left on Old River Trail and drive about one and a half miles to the park entrance on the right.

Guests will find the park easily traversed on paved roads with easy access to parking.

Parking

Powhatan State Park provides abundant parking. Guests will find parking near each of the three canoe launches, at the picnic shelter, at the park office, and within the campground.

Public Transport

Public transportation is not available within the park.

Campgrounds and parking in Powhatan State Park

Campsites in Powhatan State Park

Reservations camping

Powhatan State Park

Powhatan State Park on the Historic James River opened in the summer of 2013. The 1,565-acre park is located on the edge of the James River in the northwest corner of Powhatan County the park offers a diverse habitat for wildlife with terrain moving from open fields to wonderful upland hardwood forests.

The campground offers lodging in 40 sites. The campground has three yurts that guests can rent as well as 29 standard sites with water and electric hookup. There are also eight tent only sites. The campground is a lovely tranquil spot within view of the James River. Access to the river is through a car top boat slide in the northwest corner of the park.

The campground boasts a canoe launch, canoe-in campsites, an information center, a playground, a ranger station, and restrooms. The campground has sites that can accommodate up RV’s up to 80 feet in length and each site offers a fire pit and picnic table.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Powhatan State Park

In-Season

Hiking

Powhatan State Park has approximately eight miles of beautiful hiking and biking trails. Around seven miles of trail are also equestrian accessible through various habitats including field edge, upland pine forest and mature hardwoods. The trails provide excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife.

Many of the park visitors’ favorite trail is the Gold Dust Trail (three and a half miles in length). This trail is only about .8 miles long and is of moderate difficulty. Guests will delight in the beauty of the trail. The walk is shaded, and the path is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers in the spring. At the end of the trail, guests are invited to view the James River and turn around, or continue right onto River Trail. As you can tell by the name, this trail follows along the shore of the river. It is well shaded and offers a beautiful view of the James River the entire way.

Boating

There are two and a half miles of the beautiful James River within the park and three different canoe slide launches for access to the river. Boats that must be launched from trailers are not permitted on these slides. The different canoe launches allow guests to customize how long they want to be on the river. If the length within the park is not long enough, Maidens Landing is just five miles away from the first boat launch. This section of the James can be smooth and quiet, perfect for an enjoyable and relaxing trip.

Powhatan State Park also offers guided canoe trips weather permitting, to Maidens Landing. The park provides canoes, life preserves, and a shuttle back to your car. Guests will want to bring some sun screen and bottled water for their time on the river. This program is perfect for first timers. Guides will teach guests everything they need to know.

Bird-watching

Many guests to Powhatan State Park enjoy bird-watching along Turkey Trail. This trail is a two and a half mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Powhatan, Virginia. This trail is renowned for its beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. Turkey Trail traverses a large open field, making it perfect for bird-watching. While on this trail, visitors can see expect to see a variety of birds native to Virginia. Guests would be advised to bring binoculars and a bird guide book to readily identify the abundant birds they will no doubt see. Guests with a smartphone you can find apps to help identify novel birds. Many bright and beautiful are native to the area. Guests frequently report seeing Chipping Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Black and White Warblers, Common Yellow throats, Magnolia Warblers, Northern Baltimore Orioles, and Red bellied Woodpeckers.

Off-Season

Geocaching

Guests to lovely Powhatan State Park will find several geocaches within this 1,565-acre park. For guests who don’t know, geocaching is a low-cost adventure where geocachers use their GPS or phones to locate hidden caches. Geocaching is akin to treasure hunting with a modern twist. Families and children are easily engaged in the hunt for caches of varying size. Once located geo-hunters may choose to take and leave a small trinket in the cache.

Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park

Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park is a 341-acre park in nearby Rice that history buffs will find interesting. On April 6, 1865, nearly a quarter of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's army, more than 7,700 men, were killed, wounded or captured here. Lee surrendered 72 hours later at Appomattox Court House. Guests will find informational programs offered by historical interpreters here. Guests can experience living history events here at various times throughout the year. Motorists traveling along Lee's Retreat can learn about the battle through signs at each stop. The park also offers a free tour of the Overton-Hillsman House, which served as a hospital during and after the battle. The park is open dawn – dusk with the visitor center open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 - 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Powhatan Courthouse Historic District

Powhatan Courthouse Historic District resides on the National Register of Historic Places. The central feature of this historic district is the courthouse. The Powhatan Courthouse was designed by noted New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis in 1849 in the Greek Revival style of architecture.

Other points of interest in the Powhatan Courthouse Historic District include the "Old Jail" which houses the Powhatan Historical Society, a lovely garden displaying native flowers, plants, and vegetables, a historic tavern, and several other historic buildings.

During the civil war, after the fall of Richmond, a large Confederate wagon supply train, led by General Lee's oldest son, Custis, passed through this historic district. The supplies which were en route to General Lee in Amelia never reached their destination. The wagons were captured shortly after crossing the Appomattox river into Amelia.

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