Eastern Branch Elizabeth River Water Trail

The Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River flows from Virginia Beach through Norfolk before joining the main river and the Chesapeake Bay. This historic area combines natural wetlands and naval shipyards. The scenic Eastern Branch provides a glimpse of the environment as Captain John Smith would have seen it, with the river's forested shorelines and wetland areas. In the spring of 1608, Smith explored the Elizabeth River, finding little evidence of human inhabitants. Once home to the Chesapeake Group, archaeological resources are most likely lost due to the industrial development in the area.

Today, canoeists can paddle a short portion of the upper river by launching from Carolanne Farm Neighborhood Park, and following a mapped trail route.

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Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! Trail maps are for informational and interpretive purposes only and are not meant for navigational purposes, nor do they take into account level of skills or ability required to navigate such trails. The Chesapeake Conservancy, National Park Service, and/or the individual trail associations assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials.

Main image: Eastern Branch Elizabeth River Trail


The launch site is open dawn to dusk.


No fees are charged for use of the launch site.


In addition to nature viewing along the canoe trail, there is a short nature trail adjacent to the canoe launch.


Last updated: September 03, 2019