King George County is known as the ‘Gateway to the historic Northern Neck’ and that beauty can be seen inside of Caledon State Park.
The Virginia park’s 2,587 acres offers its visitors a chance to explore trails through old-growth forests and see bald eagles in their protected natural habitat.
The property was originally owned by the Alexander brothers, founders of the city of Alexandria, and established in 1659 as Caledon Plantation.
It became a natural area and habitat for the endangered bald eagle during the 1980s.
Today the Smoot House and Visitor Center houses a bald eagle exhibit and provides historical information of the park.
Visit Caledon State Park and explore the trails, learn about wildlife and the history of the area. Picnic areas and a natural play area are located near a parking area for convenient access.
A large picnic shelter is available to reserve for groups of up to 40 people. This shelter includes tables and a grill, and a portable toilet is located nearby.
While there isn’t any boating or swimming allowed inside of the park, there are many trails to explore, camping and picnic areas.
Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Caledon State Park:
Hiking at Caledon State Park
Here are a couple of the popular trails at Caledon State Park:
- Boyd’s Hole Trail – This wide gravel trail is 3.4 miles, considered easy and probably the most popular trail inside of the park. It offers access to the river and picnic area. While hiking you may notice the foundation of a Colonial plantation from the 1600s.
- Jones Pond Loop – An easy 1.3 mile loop with access to the river and picnic area and lots of opportunity for eagle sightings.
- Laurel Glen Trail – A well marked moderate 2.6 mile trail through the woods and past wildflowers and rocky streams.
Fishing at Caledon State Park
Fish for bass, catfish, sunfish, perch and crappie at Caledon State Park. Remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater license ahead of time. You can purchase one online here.
Fishing is only allowed along open areas of the Potomac River and not at Jones Pond or Caledon Marsh.
Swimming at Caledon State Park
There aren’t any designated swimming areas and swimming may be prohibited at times due to the swift and dangerous river currents. However, you may wade into the river at the shaded picnic area as a way to cool off after your hike.
Wildlife Viewing at Caledon State Park
The park and the natural area next to it are a bald eagle habitat and protection area.
And because of this some areas of the park may be closed to the public at certain times of the year. Be sure to observe any postings.
Chotank Creek Natural Area Preserve is private land adjacent to the park and bordering on the Potomac River. This area contains 1,000 acres of shoreline, marshes and forest and is home to the bald eagle as well as many other species.
While spending time inside Caledon State Park you will see many eagles, osprey, Great Blue Heron, wood peckers, and song birds and as well as many types of waterfowl. Hummingbirds also make regular appearances at the visitor center during the summer months
You’ll also probably notice the bright red plumage of the Northern Cardinal, Virginia’s state bird, and notice its distinct ‘twit-twit-twit’.
Other songbirds at the park are chickadees, jays, swallows, thrushes and finches.
Some mammals that you may encounter while exploring the trails are squirrels, chipmunks, deer, raccoons and possibly bobcats and black bears.
Camping at Caledon State Park
Caledon State Park has 6 tent only campsites that are either paddle-in or hike-in. There’s no parking or vehicle access to any of these sites and reservations are highly recommended.
Each site is a framed, sand-filled pad and includes a fire ring, picnic table and lantern post. There isn’t water or electricity at any of the sites but a portable toilet is located nearby.
These primitive sites are open year round and can accommodate up to 6 people at each.
You can only access these sights during the daylight, so give yourself enough time to cover the 3 mile hike from the Visitor Center parking lot.
The paddle-in campsites are part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and can be accessed at Stuart’s Wharf on the Potomac River.
Pets at Caledon State Park
Pets are allowed inside the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area. Please clean up after them and do not leave them unattended.
Attractions Near Caledon State Park
Historic Fredericksburg is only 23 miles east of Caledon State Park, on I-95 between Richmond and Washington, DC.
Visit downtown Fredericksburg for an opportunity to experience shopping and dining in the many restored 18th- and 19th-century buildings.
Explore nearby trails, museums, performing arts and local theater while learning some of the rich history of this area.
If you’re searching for more outdoor activities, especially hiking check out these nearby areas:
- Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail – in the Northern Neck Heritage Area. This trail network stretches across Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania with plenty of opportunity for hiking, biking and boating.
- Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail – King George Rail Trail, King George This area is also part of the Potomac Heritage Trail as it follows an old railroad bed. There are 15.7 miles of trails here but you will need a permit to access this area.
- Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve – 81 Raven Rd, Strafford, VA This is another great area to explore by hiking, canoe or kayak. This coastal wetland area is 3,800 acres and is a natural habitat for many species including the bald eagle.
Caledon State Park
11617 Caledon Rd
King George, VA 22485
** Caledon does have a per vehicle parking fee. It’s currently $5 but is subject to change. **
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing hiking attractions at Caledon State Park: