Just 20 miles from Richmond, Pocahontas offers boating, picnicking, camping, camping cabins, hiking, and nature and history programs. The Aquatic Center, which has a toddler pool, fountain wet deck, three-foot and five-foot-deep leisure pools, an activity pool and two tubular water slides, offers seasonal water-based activities for the entire family. Rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks, paddleboards and canoes may be rented at the boathouse on the 225-acre Swift Creek Lake during the summer. Two of the park's three lakes offer fishing for crappie, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, warmouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The park has more than 80 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. The Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, dedicated to the Depression-era workers who helped build the state park system, is one of a handful in the nation. The park's two dining halls may be rented for meetings and events. Group facilities with primitive overnight cabins (bunkhouses) also are available.
7 a.m. - dusk.
In Chesterfield County, about 20 miles from Richmond. It's easily accessible from Interstate 95, Route 288 and Route 360. See below for detailed directions.
Its address is 10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832-6355; Latitude, 37.373973. Longitude, -77.571782.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia, two hours; Richmond, half an hour; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, two hours; Roanoke, three hours
From Interstate 95 south of Richmond: Take exit 61 onto Route 10 west, then left onto Route 655 (Beach Road). Go about four miles to State Park Road, which is on the right.
From Interstate 95 north of Richmond: Take Interstate 295 south to Route 10 west (Iron Bridge Road) to Route 655 (Beach Road) to State Park Road.
From 64 west of Richmond: Take Route 288 south to Route 10 east (Iron Bridge Road) to Route 655 (Beach Road) to State Park Road.
From 64 east of Richmond: Take Interstate 295 south to Route 10 west to Route 655 (Beach Road) to State Park Road.
8,115 acres. Swift Creek Lake: 225 acres. Beaver Lake: 24 acres. Camp 7 lake: 7 acres.
Camping (with Customer Service Center) and group cabins (bunkhouses - call the park to rent). For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees.
Click here for details on reservation cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for cabin stays.
None at this park.
All campsites have electric and water hookups (no sewer), grills, picnic tables and lantern holders. There are centrally located restrooms with hot showers.
Total sites of each type: E/W, 114; Buddy, 5
E/W - Electric and water hookups; RVs up to 40 feet, bathhouse with hot showers. Tents must fit on a 20' x 20' tent pad.
E/W 65 - Electric and water hookups; RVs up to 65 feet, bathouse with hot showers. Tents must fit on a 20’ x 20’ tent pad. All 65-foot sites have 50-amp electrical outlets.
Buddy - Buddy site for a maximum of 18 people; electric and water group site; three campsites in each buddy site; tents, pop-ups and RVs up to 50 feet; tents must fit on 20' x 20' tent pad. The cancellation fee for buddy sites is higher; the park's five buddy sites are apart from each other.
Camp Cabins: six sites (Camp Cabins 01-06)
Other park facilities
Algonquian Ecology Camp and Swift Creek Camp (Camp 3) - Built by the CCC, these two camps offer accommodations for large groups wanting to camp together. The camps have from two to four cabin groups and an activity-dining hall that has a kitchen. Each cabin group has four or five cabins (each of which can accommodate from four to six people), a leader's cabin that sleeps two, a shared restroom and shower facility, and a lodge. The cabins are rustic and have bunk beds and mattresses only, as well as a ceiling light. The lodge has a fireplace, a large charcoal grill, a covered outdoor pit grill, electricity, electric baseboard heat and a water spigot. Each building has screened windows and a campfire ring for cooking or a fire. Each cabin group accommodates up to 28 people. No additional camping units may be used in the area. Group cabin users are required to pay daily swimming fees, although at a reduced rate. Rental of these facilities includes parking. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance and are made through the park office.
Powhatan and Swift Creek dining halls - These buildings are part of each group camp and may be rented individually for meetings, wedding receptions and other gatherings. Each hall has a commercial grade kitchen with stainless steel sinks and countertops, a commercial grade refrigerator, a freezer, an ice machine and an oven. Tables and chairs for up to 125 people are included; each building has central heat and air-conditioning. The Swift Creek hall has a gas-log fireplace. Here's the dining hall rental agreement. Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance. Call 800-933-7275 to reserve.
Bright Hope Equestrian Center - Located across Beach Road from the main park entrance, the area is perfect for shows and special events. The center consists of a gated and fenced 216 by 117 foot show ring with a crumb rubber and sand riding surface, a gated and fenced 161 by 83 foot warm-up ring with a crumb rubber and sand riding surface, picnic tables, charcoal grills and a restroom facility. The area is open from 8 a.m. until dark and has a horse trailer parking area that accommodates about 30 trailers as well as a separate parking area for about 30 vehicles without trailers. The center is available for reservation or can be used on a first-come, first-served basis when not reserved. There is a daily ring-use fee when not reserved. For more information or to make a reservation, call the Customer Service Center at 800-933-7275.
Heritage Amphitheater - First built by the CCC in 1938 and rebuilt in 1997, this outdoor venue holds up to 2,000. It's well-suited for concerts, stage performances and other large gatherings. The amphitheater has bench seating for up to 350, and additional spectators take seats on a gentle, grassy slope. The area has an elevated stage with backdrop, restrooms, walkways, a concession stand and a ticket booth. Vendors can set up booths and displays and have activities in an exhibit area at the top of the amphitheater hill.
Pocahontas has more than 64 miles of trail for users of all skill levels.
Hiking - A total of 5.5 miles of trail for only hiking, including a paved spillway trail for those with disabilities.
Biking - More than 25 miles of directional mountain biking trails including traditional single-track, machine-built flow trail, and hand-cycle friendly trails. These trails, along with the James River Parks Systems trails, combine to form the IMBA bronze level Richmond Regional Ride Center.
Multi-Use - About 33 miles of forest roads and trails help comprise the trail system for combined use by hikers, bikers and equestrians. Standalone forest roads provide roughly 12 miles of additional opportunities.
Mountain trail conditions
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Pocahontas' trails.
The park's Aquatic Recreation Center is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Click here for park fees. During summer months, enjoy a day of free swimming for each night of overnight camping for registered guests. However, it cannot be guaranteed should circumstances beyond the park's control require that swimming be closed. Prior to mid-June and after mid-August, the aquatic center may be operating with some features closed. Refunds for swimming to overnight guests will not be given under any circumstances. Group cabin and lodge guests do not receive free swimming but receive discounted swimming prices - please refer to the fees pages for details.
Those who wish to register for the group rate (minimum 20 people) for using the aquatic center must call the park office at least five days in advance of arrival. All group swim fees must be paid at one time when entering the swimming facility.
During daylight hours only, enjoy fishing at Swift Creek and Beaver lakes. There’s a concrete boat ramp at Swift Creek Lake. Gas-powered boats are prohibited, but electric motors are allowed. A valid Virginia fishing license is required and may be purchased at the park office. The park rents paddleboats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats on the weekends from April 1 to Memorial Day weekend, seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, and on weekends from Labor Day weekend to Nov. 1. When Swift Creek Lake has high water levels or is frozen over, the ramp may be closed. For more information about boat rentals or to check the lake’s status, contact the park office.
No horse rentals, but there are more than 13 miles of bridle trails within the park's multiple-use trail system. Bring your own horse. No overnight accommodations for horses at the park. You'll find full-service equine facilities, Brandywine Farms and Beaver Hollow Farm, nearby. Horses may disembark at the Bright Hope Horse Complex, the horse trailer parking lot on Beach Road or the Dvorak Forest Trail parking area. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.
Bright Hope Horse Complex: Complete with a large parking lot, picnic tables, a restroom and two exercise rings (50 by 100 feet and 20 by 60 feet), this day-use facility offers equestrians easy access to the Bright Hope Multi-use Trail. The rings may be used by individuals for training – daily fee required – or may be reserved for group use during daylight hours. Contact the Customer Service Center at 800-933-PARK (7275) to reserve the space.
The park offers managed hunt opportunities in November and December each year. These hunts are limited to a specific number of hunters through a reservation process. Reservations for these hunts typically are made available in late September.
Additionally a special hunt season by permit only is available on approximately 1,000 acres north of Swift Creek. Contact the park office for information concerning the hunts and to obtain a permit for the special hunt season, please register at the main office.
Richmond Area - Edgar Allan Poe Museum and Old Stone House, Wilton House Museum, St. John’s Church, Maymont Park, Richmond International Raceway, Museum and White House of Confederacy, Monument Avenue, Executive Mansion, Capitol Square, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Science Museum of Virginia, Valentine Museum, Colonial Downs, Historic Chesterfield Museum Complex (includes Magnolia Grange and Chesterfield County Museum), Hollywood Cemetery, the historic James River, Richmond and Petersburg National Park system, Tredegar Iron Works, Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, Berkeley Plantation, Shirley Plantation. The park is less than 90 minutes from historic Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg. Also, visit www.chesterfieldtourism.com for a list of attractions near the park. You'll find Ironbridge Sports Park nearby, which has a driving range, miniature golf, batting cages and more. Beaver Hollow Farm, which has guided equestrian trail rides and lessons, is close to the park. Also, nearby Brandywine Farms offers equestrian trail rides, pony rides, boarding, summer camps, hunting lessons and more.
The park's seven shelters are available for rent through the Reservations Center at 1-800-933-PARK. There are two sizes, large and small. Shelters 2, 3, 4 and 5 are large; shelters 1, 6, and 7 are small. Parking fees are not included in shelter rental. Click here for park fees. Shelters can be rented from 8 a.m. to dark (all day).
Those who also wish to register for the group rate at the aquatic center must give the park a full week's notice so that park staff can adjust lifeguard staffing and ensure that too many groups are not registered for the same time.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
|Distances||Restroom||Parking lot||Pool & boat rentals|
|Shelter 1||200'||160'||520' (just over hill)|
|Shelter 2||50'||50'||140' (closest shelter)|
|Shelter 3||200'||60'||400' (just over hill)|
|Shelter 4||120'||10'||too far for easy walk|
|Shelter 5||160'||40'||too far for easy walk|
|Shelter 6||375'||100'||too far for easy walk|
|Shelter 7||350'||30'||too far for easy walk|
Powhatan and Swift Creek dining halls - These buildings are part of each group camp and may be rented individually for meetings, wedding receptions and other gatherings. Each hall has a commercial grade kitchen with stainless steel sinks and countertops, a commercial grade refrigerator, a freezer, an ice machine and an oven. Tables and chairs for up to 125 people are included; each building has central heat and air-conditioning. The Swift Creek hall has a gas-log fireplace. Please call the park, (804) 796-4255, for details or to reserve. Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance. Here's the rental hall agreement. Call 800-933-7275 to reserve.
Pocahontas State Park has no visitor center but has a gift shop and a camp store. The gift shop has souvenirs and park mementos and is in the main park office by the park entrance. A camp store in the campground also has souvenirs, toiletry items, camping supplies, snacks and s'more fixings. Hours vary by season.
None. This park has a snack bar in season.
A facility with three washers and driers, a soap machine and a change machine is in the campground. It's open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
None at this park.
CCC Museum: The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum is housed in an original CCC building. It highlights the many accomplishments of the CCC.
Heritage Amphitheater - First built by the CCC in 1938 and rebuilt in 1997, this outdoor venue holds up to 2,000. It's well-suited for concerts, stage performances and other large gatherings. The amphitheater has bench seating for up to 350, and additional spectators take seats on a gentle, grassy slope. The area has an elevated stage with backdrop, restrooms, walkways, a concession stand and a ticket booth. Vendors often set up booths and displays and have activities in an exhibit area at the top of the amphitheater hill.
Pocahontas presents many programs for park visitors during the year. Programs include guided nature hikes, campfire programs, family and children’s programs, and night hikes.
Pocahontas State Park is pleased to offer you and your family the Junior Ranger Activity Book. The book covers self-guided activities to help you and your kids discover the park's plants and animals and learn about Virginia's Piedmont region.
Also, the park is the perfect outdoor classroom for students of all ages. Its staff provides outreach and onsite programs that are available on request. Environmental education field trips and outreach programs align with public school standards of learning (SOL) curricula and, in most cases, can be adapted to individual class needs. Fees are based on the particular program, number of students and time involved. Pocahontas also offers recreational and environmental education field trips and outreach programs for private groups including scouts, youth groups, nature clubs, etc., available upon request. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-796-4472.
CCC Museum: In 1933, the country was in the grips of the Great Depression. Millions were out of work and hungry. As part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, 500,000 unemployed young men were put to work in forests, parks and rangelands across the country. Thus the Civilian Conservation Corps was born. Visit the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum, housed in an original CCC building, to see highlights of their many accomplishments in Virginia.
Be sure to enjoy this year's Pocahontas Premieres! summer performances, featuring rising and established performers from across the state. Click here to view all parks' events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
The park has an impressive, fun-filled pool aquatic center, boat rentals and a snack bar during summer months. A camp store within the laundry building is open seasonally. Open year-round, a gift shop in the park office offers souvenirs.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), this was the first recreational park in the Richmond-Petersburg-Hopewell area. The park was originally operated by the National Park Service (NPS) as the Swift Creek Recreational Demonstration Area from 1938 through 1942. From 1942 through 1945, it was a recreation area for soldiers during World War II. The National Park Service donated the facility to Virginia State Parks in 1946, making it the largest Virginia state park with more than 7,925 acres and two small lakes. The area was renamed Pocahontas State Park and Pocahontas State Forest and was operated under a cooperative management arrangement with the Department of Forestry. Today the entire area is operated as Pocahontas State Park.
The park is named after Pocahontas, the famed daughter of Chief Powhatan, who was ruler over the tribes in the Powhatan Confederacy of the Algonquin Nation. Legend has it that she saved Captain John Smith’s life when he was held captive by the Powhatan Confederacy. Pocahontas, known at the time of her death as Lady Rebecca Rolfe, died in London from an undetermined illness.
Feel like lending nature a hand? The Pocahontas State Park Friends group is a hands-on volunteer 501c3 organization dedicated to preserving and supporting the park. Visit its website to learn how you can help out.
Master plans must be written for parks before they're built. The plans are updated at least once every 10 years thereafter. The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources. Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan. Click here for this park's master plan.
Virginia State Parks are great places to discover and reconnect with the wild world. Bring a camera and share your captures with the world. But please don't disturb or get too close to the animals. The park is, after all, their home. Here are a few recent natural encounters others have had at Pocahontas State Park.
View all wildlife encounter photos from Pocahontas State Park.