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Powhatan State Park

Description

Powhatan State Park encompasses 1,565 acres of gently rolling hills, meadows, mixed species forests, 8 miles of multi-use trails, and 2.5 miles of river frontage on the James River. The wildlife viewing opportunities here, no matter the time of year, are outstanding. Winter brings in northern harriers, both kinglet species, hermit thrushes, yellow-rumped warblers, cedar waxwings, brown creepers, and multiple sparrow species. The first of four uncommon species that make Powhatan State Park special begins making its presence known in February, when male American woodcocks start their elaborate courtship displays. A visit in May should turn up the other three uncommon species here: northern bobwhite, grasshopper sparrow, and bobolink.

Bobolinks descend on this field across from the River Bend Campground every May. Photo Credit: Lisa Mease

Bobolinks descend on this field across from the River Bend Campground every May. Photo Credit: Lisa Mease/DWR

Spring migration is when any of 32 warbler species, 7 thrush species, and 6 vireo species could drop in, while summer is filled with the sound of begging youngsters. Field sparrow, tree and barn swallow, eastern kingbird, blue grosbeak, indigo bunting, eastern bluebird, and American goldfinch are some of the species that will be searching in and around the meadows for food. Red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks can be seen or heard in the area, too. A walk in the woods will yield scarlet and summer tanagers, yellow-throated and red-eyed vireos, acadian flycatchers, and other familiar summer forest species. Barred owls can be heard asking who cooks for you, especially at dusk. The aptly named River Trail along the bluffs above the river hosts prothonotary warblers. In fall and winter, this trail provides clear views of the James and the waterfowl it supports.

Powhatan State Park has three canoe/kayak slide launches for visitors to explore the James River. Put in at Launch A and enjoy an easy 2-mile float to Launch C. Launch B is only for the paddle-in primitive campground. Like much of the James, osprey are common overhead, while belted kingfishers drop in from the trees, and double-crested cormorants dive underwater. Approach quietly for a chance to see a bald eagle perched near the launches.

The spicebush swallowtail is one of the species commonly found throughout the park. Photo Credit: Hilda LeStrange

The spicebush swallowtail is one of the species commonly found throughout the park. Photo Credit: Hilda LeStrange/DCR

The Park meadows also offer great opportunities to see butterflies in the summer, such as the pearl crescent and silvery checkerspot, common buckeye, orange sulfur, great spangled fritillary, eastern tiger swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail and zebra swallowtail. Migrating monarchs are also fairly common as they move through in spring and fall.

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Directions

Physical Address: 4616 Powhatan State Park Rd, Powhatan, VA 23139

From Richmond, head west on I-64, take exit 167 then turn left at the light onto SR-617/Oilville Rd, turn right onto US-250/Broad Street Rd, turn left onto SR-632/Fairground Rd, turn left onto SR-634/Maidens Rd, continue straight onto US-522/Maidens Rd, turn right onto SR-617/Old River Tr, turn right onto Powhatan State Park Rd, and follow it to a parking area.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: powhatan@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-598-7148
  • Website
  • Access: Fee, Daily, dawn to dusk

Birds Recently Seen at Powhatan State Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Wood Duck
  • Black Vulture
  • Osprey
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • White-eyed Vireo
  • American Crow
  • Tree Swallow
  • Carolina Wren

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Bike Trails
  • Camping
  • Fee
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Primitive Camping