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Cold Harbor Battlefield, Richmond National Battlefield Park

Description

The most effective way of exploring the site is to take the foot trail that begins at the visitor’s center and works its way through the forest. The trail crosses the loop drive at Bloody Run and continues to the field behind the visitor’s center. Woodpeckers, like the red-bellied, are attracted to the dead timber along Bloody Run, the small stream that runs through the site.

The loop road through the battlefield, which passes several different habitat types, can be walked or driven, making Cold Harbor ideal for accessible wildlife viewing. The east side of the road is burned periodically for management purposes to maintain the open understory and promote the growth of pines. The west side is more densely vegetated. The terrain begins to slope downward, getting wetter and giving rise to bottomland that is dominated by a shrub layer of American holly. This is the most wildlife-rich part of the park, due to the thicker vegetation. Birders in the right place and the right time during migration will be treated to mixed flocks of neotropicals foraging in the trees.

Cold Harbor Battlefield is one of the more sensitive battlefield sites on the trail. Trench warfare was born here, and many of the trenches are still visible and in very good condition. However, they are susceptible to human disturbance and should not be entered for any reason. Please respect this piece of military history.

A view of the battlefiToday, Carolina chickadees and red-eyed vireos are heard behind the earthenworks that wind through the area. Visitors are asked to stay on trails at all times to protect the sensitive structures. Photo Credit: Lisa Mease

Today, Carolina chickadees and red-eyed vireos are heard around the earthenworks that wind through the area. Visitors are asked to stay on trails at all times to protect the sensitive structures. Photo Credit: Lisa Mease

Notes:

  • Please be mindful of the property lines while exploring Cold Harbor; adjacent properties are privately owned.
  • If driving, always stay on Anderson-Wright Drive as General Smith Drive is private. Park only on paved areas.

Directions

Physical Address: 5515 Anderson-Wright Dr., Mechanicsville, VA 23111

From I-295, take the SR-615/Creighton Road exit and merge onto SR-615/Creighton Road, at the traffic circle, take the 1st exit onto VA-156 S/Cold Harbor Rd, turn left onto Anderson-Wright Drive, and either park in the visitor center parking lot or continue on Anderson-Wright Drive to tour the battlefield by vehicle. 

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Kristen Allen, Integrated Resources Program Manager; (804) 640-7919, kristen_allen@nps.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Free, Daily dawn to dusk. Please see website for visitor center hours.

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Visitor/Nature Center
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Restrooms
  • Historical Site