You'll find Powhatan State Park in the northwest corner of Powhatan County on the historic James River. The park has diverse wildlife habitat, from open fields to upland hardwood forests. Guests can use the park's car-top boat slide to get in the river. Other amenities include a canoe-in campground, multi-use trails, wildlife observation areas, picnic shelters and a playground.
Dawn - dusk.
The park's address is 4616 Powhatan State Park Rd., Powhatan, VA 23139. Latitude, 37.659728. Longitude, -77.922978.
Drive Time: Drive Time: Northern Virginia, two hours; Richmond, 45 minutes; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, two and a half hours; Roanoke, three hours
From Interstate 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 4 miles to Route 617 west (Old River Trail). Turn left and go about 1.5 miles to the park entrance on the right.
From 64 west of Richmond: Take 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 4 miles to Route 617 west (Old River Trail). Turn left and go about 1.5 miles to the park entrance 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 4 miles to Route 617 west (Old River Trail). Turn left and go about 1.5 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 7 miles to Route 617 west (Old River Trail). Turn left on Old River Trail and drive about 1.5 miles to the park entrance on the right.
Camping: A canoe-in campground, accessible by the James River, has six primitive sites (no electricity or water) and is open year-round. The campground has a toilet but no bathhouse. Nearby Bear Creek Lake, Pocahontas, Holliday Lake and Twin Lakes state parks also have camping.
The park has about 7.3 miles of multi-use trails through various habitats including field edge, upland pine forest and mature hardwoods. The trails provide excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. More are being created.
There are no designated swimming areas.
The park has about 2.5 miles of James River waterfront accessible by a canoe slide launch at the end of River Launch Rd. within the park. Boats launched from boat trailers are not permitted on the slide. (A Department of Game and Inland Fisheries boat launch at Maidens off route 522 just north of the park allows such access.) Fishing access to the river bank is limited because of high bluffs, but easier access is being worked on. Fishing licenses are required and are available from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Visitors launching a canoe or kayak from the park may enjoy a 5-mile float down river to the Maidens boat launch. This stretch of water is generally flat. Check with the National Weather Service for current river water levels.
Bridle trails are being developed but are not yet available.
Click here for the park's trail guide.
Powhatan and Goochland counties have plenty of enjoyable offerings including restaurants, shopping, farmers markets, historical sites and other family friendly activities, as well as wineries and breweries.
The park has three large picnic shelters. Two are surrounded by grass and woods in the upland section of the park, and one is next to the river. Each has picnic tables and a large charcoal grill. None has electricity or water. Parking fees are not included with the shelter rental fees and must be paid upon entering the park.
Shelter 1 is in the upland area of the park, more than a mile from the river. It is about 100 feet from a restroom and an accessible playground, and 40 feet from a parking lot. The land around the shelter is flat, and a gravel path leads from the parking lot sidewalk.
Shelter 2 is in the upland area of the park, more than a mile from the river. It is about 75 feet from a restroom and an accessible playground, and 40 feet from a parking lot. The land around the shelter is flat, and a gravel path leads from the parking lot sidewalk.
Shelter 3 is adjacent to the river near the boat slide launch. The shelter is within 300 feet of a restroom (no water) and small parking area. There is additional parking 500 feet away. The area around the shelter is flat and wooded. A gravel path leads from the parking area to the shelter.
Picnic shelters are available by reservation by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees. Shelters can be rented from 8 a.m. to dusk (all day).
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
The park has no indoor meeting facilities, but picnic shelters are available to rent year-round.
A gift shop is in the park office. The contact station houses another shop in-season. Stop by for a Powhatan State Park t-shirt, pin, patch, hiking medallion and other fun items.
None within the park but there are numerous nearby eateries in Powhatan and Goochland counties.
None at this park.
None at this park. Nature programming is held throughout the park and at a shelter between the park office and playground.
There are horseshoe pits by the river picnic area. Visit the park office to borrow horseshoes. GPS units also may be rented from the office and contact station during operating house.
Click here to view all parks' events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs. Contact the park for information about field trips.
None at this park.
Powhatan State Park was the vision of many in the Powhatan County community and several members of the general assembly. In 2003, 1,564 acres were transferred from the Department of Juvenile Justice to the Department of Conservation and Recreation for the development of a park. It would fill a need in the central Virginia area for a state park with access to the James River and with day and overnight facilities. So far, phase I of the park's master plan, written in 2007, is done.
Feel like lending nature a hand? The Friends of Powhatan State Park is a group of hands-on volunteers dedicated to preserving the park and supporting its mission. Membership applications are available through the group or the park office.
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.
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 Powhatan State Park.
View all wildlife encounter photos from Powhatan State Park.