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Photo of the James River taken at Powhatan State Park, Virginia, USA

James River at Powhatan State Park. Photo: Wikipelli, Wikimedia

Beautiful Powhatan State Park is located along the historic James River in Powhatan County, only 45 minutes outside of Richmond. The area officially became a state park in 2013 to give central Virginians access to the James River. Now guests arrive from all over to camp, fish, boat, hike and birdwatch along the scenic James River.

The town, county and state park were named in honor of Chief Powhatan. He was the supreme ruler of most of the indigenous tribes of the Chesapeake Bay area during the early 1600s. And he was Pocahontas’ father.

Activities at Powhatan State Park

During your visit to this Virginia State Park you’ll be able to relax, unwind and explore the park’s 1565 acres. Learn and discover all that this area has to offer its guests.

Stop into the park office and pick up a Park Pack. These free packs are filled with manuals, guides and activity plans to encourage exploration and learning while visiting the park. You can also purchase maps, guide books, souvenirs and apparel at the park office gift shop.

Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Powhatan State Park:

Boating at Powhatan State Park

Powhatan State Park has just over 2 miles of riverfront access and 3 cartop boat slides for kayaks or canoes. You can launch at Launch A and float the

2 miles downriver to Launch C. This route is relatively flat and calm. Launch B is for primitive camping visitors only.

Maiden Voyage Outfitters, outside the park, has boat rentals and shuttle service.

Fishing at Powhatan State Park

Fish from your boat and try your hand at catching bass (smallmouth, largemouth and spotted), catfish (channel and flathead) and sunfish (redbreast, bluegill and rock bass). Unfortunately, fishing along the river bank is limited due to high bluffs.

Remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater fishing license before arriving at the park.

Trails at Powhatan State Park

Powhatan State Park has 12 miles of multi-use trails that spread throughout the various habitats found within the park – wildflower fields, upland pine and hardwood forest and riverside.

Nine miles of these trails are open for equestrian riders. Horse trailer parking is available near the trailhead. Virginia state law requires visitors to carry a copy of a negative Coggins Report for each horse brought into the park.

Here are a couple of the more popular trails inside Powhatan State Park:

  • Turkey, River & Gold Dust Trails Loop – An easy 2.4 miles through woods, wildflower fields and down a gentle slope to the riverbank.
  • Cabin, Pine & Big Woods Trails Loop – Also easy, 3 miles over wide well maintained trails through grassy fields, hardwood and pine.
  • Coyote Run Trail – Another easy, 3.7 mile trail with views of fields, hills and woods.

Wildlife Viewing at Powhatan State Park

The park’s diverse habitat and wildlife observation areas allow guests to glimpse many signs of life during their visit to Powhatan State Park.

Squirrels, chipmunks, deer, rabbits, wild turkey, turtles, snakes, frogs and salamanders are fairly common.

If you’re interested in birdwatching, see if you can spot a cardinal, bald eagle, hawk, owl, woodpecker, wren, sparrow, red-winged blackbird, great blue heron or an eastern bluebird.

Camping at Powhatan State Park

Powhatan State Park has a full service campground with a bathhouse and laundry facility plus a primitive campground, group camping and 3 yurts.

The camping season runs from the first Friday in March through the first Monday in December. Keep in mind: the park doesn’t sell ice, food or drinks. Be sure to bring what you need with you.

The modern campground, River Bend, has 29 sites (no river views) with water and electric (20/30/50-amp) connections for tents, RVs and pop ups up to 60’.

The primitive campground is available year round. These 9 tent sites are accessible only by foot or canoe (hike-in or boat-in) and do not have water or electricity.

The group camp is for clubs, scout troops and large family events and has space for up to 24 campers. Water spigots and vault toilets are conveniently located nearby and the main bathhouse is .5 miles away.

The 4 yurts (a cross between a tent and a cabin) are located in a wooded section of the park where there is more shade and privacy. Each yurt sleeps 3 and has a dining table, chairs, sofa, large wooden deck, picnic table, a grill, fire ring and water spigot. There’s no electricity, heat or air conditioning and no smoking, cooking or pets allowed inside. Bring your own linens and extra sleeping bags if needed.

If you’re interested in staying in a cabin, nearby Bear Creek Lake and Twin Lakes state parks have them.

Pets at Powhatan 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 your pet and do not leave them unattended at any time.

Attractions Near Powhatan State Park

If you’re searching for yummy restaurants, shopping, grocery stores, live events and more nearby check out Powhatan County.

And for more dining, shopping, galleries, museums, trails and entertainment (amusement parks, petting zoos, waterparks, golf, live music) visit Richmond.

Visit these nearby state parks for more trails, camping options, boating, fishing and other outside adventures:

  • Bear Creek Lake State Park – 22 Bear Creek Lake Rd Cumberland
  • Holliday Lake – 2759 State Park Rd, Appomattox
  • Pocahontas State Park – 10301 State Park Rd, Chesterfield
  • Sailor’s Creek Battlefield – 6541 Saylers Creek Rd, Rice
  • Twin Lakes – 788 Twin Lakes Rd, Green Bay

Park Location

Powhatan State Park
4616 Powhatan State Park Rd,
Powhatan, VA 23139
Phone: 804.598.7148




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Powhatan State Park: