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Pocahontas State Park

10301 State Park Rd., Chesterfield, VA 23832; Phone: 804-796-4255; Email: Pocahontas@dcr.virginia.gov

Location of Pocahontas State Park in Virginia

About this park ...

Google map thumbnail showing Pocahontas State Park's location Click for Pocahontas State Park Forecast
Latitude, 37.373973. Longitude, -77.571782.

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General Information

Just 20 miles from downtown Richmond, Pocahontas offers boating, picnicking, camping, camping cabins, hiking, and interpretive and environmental education programs. The Aquatic Center offers seasonal water-based activities for the entire family. It has a kiddie pool, fountain wet deck, three-foot and five-foot-deep leisure pools, an activity pool and two tubular water slides. Rowboat, paddleboat, kayak and canoe rentals also are available at the 200-acre Swift Creek Lake during the summer. The park's two fishing lakes have crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The park has more than 80 miles of trails throughout 7,925 acres open to 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 Heritage Center and dining halls are available for meetings, events and seasonal performances. Group facilities with meeting space and primitive overnight cabins also are available.

Hours

7 a.m. - dusk.

Location

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

Directions:

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.

Park Size

7,950 acres. Swift Creek Lake: 150 acres. Beaver Lake: 24 acres. Camp 7 lake: 7 acres.

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Cabins, camping

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES

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.

Cabins

None at this park.

Camping

All campsites have electric and water hookups (no sewer), grills, picnic tables and lantern holders. There are centrally located restrooms with hot showers.

  • Swimming and boat launch free for overnight guests. Refunds and rainchecks will not be given should swimming be unavailable for reasons beyond the park staff's control.
  • All sites accept 20 and 30-amp current; sites 66 through 129 accept 50-amp.
  • Firewood is available for sale in the campground or park office.
  • Two vehicles and the camping unit are allowed at each campsite. Extra vehicles must park in overflow parking and pay the daily parking fee.
  • Each campsite has a steel fire ring that can be used for cooking and campfires.
  • Visitors to overnight guests must leave the park by 10 p.m. and are required to pay the daily parking fee.

Total sites of each type: E/W, 114; Buddy, 5

Site type:

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.

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)

  • Units are situated in pairs (01-02, 03-04 and 05-06); each pair shares water spigot and parking
  • Linens not provided
  • Four people maximum; no extra bed rentals
  • No extra tents of other camping units allowed on site
  • Two-night minimum
  • Week-long stay not required
  • No bathroom, kitchen, fireplace, air conditioning or heat
  • Each has two sets of bunk-beds with mattresses, a table, four chairs, porch, windows with screens, a door that locks, four electrical outlets, one lighted ceiling fan, an outside picnic table, a fire ring and a lantern post
  • Use campground bathhouse for bathroom and showers
  • Two-car parking area
  • Camp Cabin 06 is ADA accessible and has ramp entry from parking lot

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. Please call the park, (804) 796-4255, for details or to reserve. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance and are made through the park office.

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 Center - This meeting facility is well-suited for small to medium sized training events and meetings. It accommodates groups as large as 40, depending on the room setup. The building has restrooms, a large outdoor deck, and a small kitchen with household appliances. Audiovisual equipment and Wi-Fi are also available. Call the park to reserve and for details.

Heritage Amphitheater - First built by the CCC in 1938 and rebuilt in 1997, this outdoor venue holds up to 4,000. 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. The Heritage Center, described above, is next to the amphitheater and can be rented as well.

Recreation

TRAILS

Hiking, biking, bridle trails. Pocahontas State Park offers a 3-mile, hiking only trail around Beaver Lake, more than 52 miles of signed multi-use trails for bicycles and hikers, and the paved Spillway Trail for those with disabilities. There are also more than 13 miles of milti-use trails and forest roads open to horses. The park also has several single-track mountain bike trails ranging from easy to expert levels.

Va. Outdoors sign

Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Pocahontas' trails.

SWIMMING

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 closed on weekdays. 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.

FISHING, BOATING

During daylight hours only, enjoy fishing at Swift Creek and Beaver Lake. Private boats may be used on Swift Creek Lake and can be launched at the concrete boat ramp. 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 when it's open. The park rents canoes, kayaks and rowboats from Memorial Day through Labor Day at Swift Creek Lake. When the lake is frozen, boat ramps and boat rentals are unavailable.

HORSES

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.

Park Trail Guide

Click here for the park's trail guide. Click here for its general facilities guide.

Nearby Attractions

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.

Picnic Shelters

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.

  • Shelter 1 (small): This shelter accommodates 30-40. It's adjacent to the playground and near a restroom. It's in a heavily wooded area, and there are many additional tables nearby under the trees. There is a 160-foot walk on a level gravel walkway to the parking lot, but there is no vehicle access directly at the shelter for unloading. The shelter has a large grill and is available for rent year-round. There are no electrical outlets or water spigots.
  • Shelter 2 (large): This shelter accommodates 70-80. It is the closest to the aqua center/pool complex, boating areas and restroom, and it overlooks Swift Creek Lake. There is a paved walkway to the restrooms and aqua center. Horseshoe pits and volleyball nets are just downhill of the shelter. (Patrons must bring their own equipment.) The area around this shelter is moderately shaded and grassy, and this shelter is available for rent year-round. There is a large grill for cooking, but no water spigot or electrical outlets are provided.
  • Shelter 3 (large): This shelter accommodates 70-80. It is about 400 feet from the aqua center/pool complex and boating areas. It overlooks a steep, fenced drop-off to Swift Creek Lake. It's near facilities but far enough away for peaceful, quiet picnicking. A large picnic grill is provided. The shelter is not well suited for seniors as there's a steep, 60-foot downhill walk from the parking lot. It is in a wooded, well-shaded area. The shelter has no water or electricity and no vehicle access for unloading.
  • Shelter 4 (large): This shelter accommodates 70-80, with no additional tables around the shelter. This shelter is not within easy walking distance to the aqua center/pool, playground, and boating areas. It has paved walkways and is only 10 feet from parking. It has universally accessible picnic tables, a large grill and a water spigot. The restroom is 120 feet away. This shelter is in a moderately wooded area; a small stream well suited for novice or young anglers is only a short walk away. There is no electricity.
  • Shelter 5 (large): This shelter accommodates 70-80. It is not within easy walking distance to the aqua center/pool, playground and boating areas. This shelter features a fireplace, water spigot, large grill and universally accessible picnic tables. It's in a moderately shaded area; a small stream well suited for novice or young anglers is only a short walk away. The shelter is 40 feet from parking and 160 feet from the restroom. There is no electricity. There is no vehicle access (for unloading) directly adjacent to this shelter.
  • Shelter 6 (small): This shelter accommodates 30-40 and there are no additional tables around the shelter. This shelter is not within easy walking distance to the aqua center/pool, playground and boating areas. This shelter does feature a water spigot, large grill and universally accessible picnic tables. The shelter is moderately shaded and a small stream that is well suited for novice or young anglers is nearby. The shelter is 100 feet from parking and 375 feet from the restroom. There are no electrical outlets. There is no vehicular access (for unloading) next to this shelter.
  • Shelter 7 (small): This shelter accommodates 30-40; there are no additional tables nearby. This shelter is not within easy walking distance to the aqua center/pool, playground and boating areas. There is a paved walkway 30 feet from the parking area. The restroom is about 350 feet away. This shelter is moderately shaded. The shelter has a water spigot, universally accessible tables and large grill. There is no electricity.
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

Meeting Space and Facilities

MEETING FACILITIES

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 can be made up to a year in advance and are made through the park office.

Heritage Center - This meeting facility is well-suited for small to medium sized training events and meetings. It accommodates groups as large as 40, depending on the room setup. The building has restrooms, a large outdoor deck, and a small kitchen with household appliances. Audiovisual equipment and Wi-Fi are also available. Call the park to reserve and for details. The center is atop a hill that leads to the park's large Heritage Amphitheater, where Pocahontas Premieres concert series events are held.

VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP

A gift shop with souvenirs and park mementos 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.

RESTAURANT

None. This park has a snack bar in season.

LAUNDRY

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.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER

None at this park.

SPECIAL FEATURES

CCC Museum: The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum is housed in an original CCC building. It highlights the many accomplishments of the CCC.

Other Info

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Campground: There are six ADA-compliant sites with extended picnic tables. The bathhouses are fully accessible.
  • Conference facilities: The Heritage Center is ground level and accessible. Picnic area: Shelters 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 are ground level and universally accessible. Pedestal grills are included.
  • Swimming pool: The pool concession, pool and bathhouses are all ground level and accessible. Universally accessible parking is in the main parking lot, and sidewalks lead to the pool entrance.
  • CCC Museum: Fully accessible by ramp.
  • Trails and fishing: The Spillway Trail behind the CCC Museum is paved for accessibility. This trail goes down a hill to the Beaver Lake dam where guests may view wildlife. Accessible fishing and easy parking are available at the park's Swift Creek Lake boat ramp.
  • Amphitheater: The outdoor amphitheater is accessible, with paved sidewalks from the ticket booth area. The park provides assistance to guests to get to and from the amphitheater parking lot and seating for park-sponsored events.
  • Group cabin areas: Dining hall, lodges and bathhouses are all accessible. Sleeping cabins are not accessible as each has two or three entrance steps.
  • Although motorized vehicles are not permitted on park trails, electric wheelchairs and electric scooters that meet the federal definition for wheelchairs are allowed to enable people with disabilities to use the trails.

NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS

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, contact Krista Weatherford at krista.weatherford@dcr.virginia.gov or 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.

CONCESSIONS

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.

HISTORY

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) from 1938 through 1942 as 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 7,950 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.

FRIENDS GROUP

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 PLAN

Master plans must be written for parks before they're built. The plans are updated at least once every five 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.

WILDLIFE

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.

 

Upcoming Events

 
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Articles

Join us for a FREE appreciation concert at 7:00 PM on Friday, July 25, 2014 at Pocahontas State Park with the band Flashback. The concert is sponsored by Stamie E. Lyttle Co.
Appalachian culture is built on our heritage and at the center of that culture is music. We invite you to learn more about our park of the month's music heritage!
A marketing intern experiences take her out from behind a desk to an outdoor concert at Pocahontas State Park.
Employees from Division of Motor Vehicles volunteer at a state park to commemorate veterans and support the disable veteran community.

At a Glance

The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
AmphitheaterBikingBoat LaunchBoat Rentals, Canoe AccessCamp Store/Gift ShopCampground, Camping Cabins **, Group CampingDump StationEquestrianGroup LodgingHikingLifeguards, PoolNature/Cultural Programs, Visitor CenterParking feePicnic Shelter Rentals, Picnic TablesPlaygroundsRestroomsShoreShowersSnack BarUniversally Accessible
Amphitheater, Biking, Boat Launch, Boat Rentals, Canoe Access, Camp Store/Gift Shop, Campground, Camping Cabins **, Group Camping, Dump Station, Equestrian, Group Lodging, Hiking, Lifeguards, Pool, Nature/Cultural Programs, Visitor Center, Parking fee, Picnic Shelter Rentals, Picnic Tables, Playgrounds, Restrooms, Shore, Showers, Snack Bar, Universally Accessible