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Immersive gravel road walk through the green wood forest at the York River State Park in Virginia

Beautiful York River State Park lies on the south bank of the historic York River only 11 miles west of Colonial Williamsburg. This 2,531 acre public recreation area contains a rare and delicate estuarine environment created by the mix of freshwater and saltwater found within the park.

This picturesque Virginia state park offers visitors a glimpse of the past with its rich history, fossil beds and Native American and Colonial artifacts.

This site was once known as Taskinas Plantation, during the 1600s and 1700s, when local tobacco growers used this area to store their crops ready to be shipped to England.

Visitors today enjoy exploring the 30 miles of trails, kayaking on Taskinas Creek and the York River, fishing, birdwatching and learning more about this marshy estuarine day-use park.

Activities

Whether you come to play or come to learn you’ll appreciate the solitude and peaceful beauty found within York River State Park. During your visit you will have the chance to hike, bike, fish, boat, picnic and observe nature all around.

The park offers canoe trips on Taskinas Creek, kayak trips on the York River, fossil hikes, nature hikes, ghost trail hayrides, children’s programs and much more. The visitor center’s displays focus on the area’s history, wildlife and the importance of the coastal estuary located here. The archaeological site, Croaker Landing, is located inside the park.

Boating at York River State Park

Take a guided canoe or kayak trip during your visit to York River State Park. These guided trips educate guests on the salt-marsh ecology of the Taskinas Creek or about the natural and cultural history of the York River.

Boat rentals are available between April 1 and the end of October. Paddle boats, jon boats, kayaks and canoes may be used on the pond (only rentals are allowed on the

pond). Kayaks and canoes are allowed on Taskinas Creek and the York River. Motorboats are also permitted on the river.

Fishing at York River State Park

Visit York River State Park and experience both freshwater and saltwater fishing. The park offers great fishing in 3 different areas: Croaker Landing, Taskinas Creek and Woodstock Pond.

Croaker Landing is where the York River can be accessed. Here you can catch stripers, catfish, croaker and crabs from the boat, shore or the 360’ fishing pier. Since the fishing pier is licensed you won’t need an additional saltwater fishing license if fishing from it.

However, if you’re planning to fish from shore or boat you will need to pick one up ahead of time.

Taskinas Creek has catfish and white perch and requires either a saltwater or freshwater Virginia fishing license. Woodstock Pond has freshwater fish such as largemouth bass and bluegill. You can purchase Virginia fishing licenses online.

Trails at York River State Park

York River State Park has more than 30 miles of trails along marshland, forest and river shoreline. Nine trails are multi-use (hike, bike and equestrian) and 5 are open for mountain bike use only (including the first 5 miles of the John Blair Trail).

Here are a few popular trails inside York River State Park:

  • Mattaponi Trail to Fossil Beach – Easy 2.5 mile trail along the bluffs. This trail follows the river most of the way and has a nice lookout area right before it drops down to the beach. Discover prehistoric fossils at Fossil Beach.
  • Backbone Trail – Easy 3.8 mile wide trail through the forest, along the marshland and up easy hills to beautiful overlooks.
  • Taskinas Creek Trail – Moderate 2.7 mile hilly trail through the forest and out to 4 spectacular viewing platforms along a section of marsh and creek.
  • Marl Ravine Trail – Moderate 7.9 mile trail for mountain bikes only. Has some technical sections and may not be suitable for novice riders.
  • Meh Te Kos Bridle Trail – Easy 3.7 trail and challenge loop intended for horseback riders of all skill levels to enjoy. Virginia state law requires visitors to carry a negative Coggins report for each horse brought to the park.

Wildlife Viewing at York River State Park

The National Estuarine Research Reserve is located nearby on the Taskinas Creek and surrounding watershed. The area is 525 acres and one of four sites along the York River. This reserve is the first of its kind in the state.

During your visit to York River State Park you will have the opportunity to see many species of wildlife including dragonflies, butterflies, cardinals, hummingbirds, bald eagles, osprey, green heron, squirrels, white-tailed deer, rabbits, turtles, snakes, frogs and salamanders. Bird lovers will enjoy spotting native and migrating songbirds and waterfowl.

Pets at York River 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.

Camping Near York River State Park

York River State Park is a day-use park and does not offer overnight accommodations at this time. Nearby Chippokes Plantation State Park has campsites, yurts, cabins and a 4 bedroom house available to rent.

Their campground has 51 campsites (mix of tent-only and RV with E/W) and is open from March to December. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring and is close to a bathhouse and laundry facilities. There’s also a group camping area with 4 tent-only sites.

The 3 Yurts, located in a wooded area for more privacy, sleep 3 and have large wooden decks with a patio table plus a picnic table and fire ring. No electricity, water or cooking inside each; access to campground bathhouses nearby.

Four Colonial style cabins each have a full kitchen, bathroom, living room with couch, chairs and a television and dvd player (no cable or satellite). Cabin # 3 is ADA accessible and cabin #2 sleeps up to 8. No linens are provided.

Walnut Valley House, built in 1770, has 4 bedrooms, a fully stocked kitchen and a spacious dining area. The house is located in a pastoral setting framed by magnolia trees. Enjoy your morning coffee while taking in the view from the screened in porch area.

Attractions Near York River State Park

For outdoor adventure including swimming, trails, fishing and boating:

Park Location

York River State Park
9801 York River Park Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23188
Phone: 757.566.3036

Website

Map

Video

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