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York River State Park

York River State Park

The park is known for its rare and delicate estuarine environment, where freshwater and saltwater meet to create a rich habitat for marine and plant life. It is on the York River and is designated as a Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The pristine environment offers clues to a rich natural and cultural history and hosts fossil beds and Colonial and Native American artifacts. Programs, activities and visitor center displays focus on the history, use, wildlife and preservation of the York River and its marshes. More than 30 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails allow visitors to explore the marsh, river shoreline and forests. A boat ramp, fresh and salt water fishing spots, a fishing pier, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and seasonal boat and recreational equipment rentals are available

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Image Credit: York River State Park


Open from 8 am to dusk.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)


Daily parking for passenger vehicles cost: $8 daily, in and out of state (Croaker Landing/Pier Area also requires boat launch fee for all vehicles).


Trails: Hiking, bicycle and bridle trails. More than 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails provide access to the park’s beautiful and diverse natural areas. The park has nine mult-use use trails. Thre are five trails for mountain-bike use only, including the first 5 miles of the John Blair Trail. Hikers enjoy challenging elevation changes and dramatic views along the Taskinas Creek Trail and discover the prehistoric past at Fossil Beach on the Mattaponi Trail. Equestrians of all skill levels enjoy secluded stretches of the Meh-Te-Kos Trail and test their skills on the Challenge Loop.

Fishing, Boating: You'll find great fishing in three areas of the park. Freshwater anglers will find bluegill and largemouth bass in Woodstock Pond. A Virginia fishing license is required. Boats are available seasonally for rent on pond. Only rental boats are allowed on the pond.

Horses: None, but there are five bridle trails in the park. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.

Water Flow Info:


Visitor Center: Visitors to York River can learn more about the value of the coastal estuary to the environment and about the area's historical significance by touring this facility. Activities in the center focus on the history, use and preservation of the York River and its marshes. A small wet lab, resource library and variety of equipment and animals are available for use by school groups for environmental education activities.

Picnic Shelters: Three picnic shelters that overlook the picturesque marsh or York River may be reserved by calling the Reservation Center. They can be rented for the entire day, 8 a.m. to dusk. Shelters 1 and 3 hold up to 35 people; shelter 2 holds about 75. Also, 40 picnic tables throughout the park are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Playground equipment also is available (two sets conveniently near picnic areas).

All shelters have grill, picnic tables and access to restroom and playgrounds.


  • Paved path along native plant arboretum leads to canoe dock
  • ADA restrooms in day use area. Boat launch area has ADA stall but steps lead into restrooms.
  • One-half mile, self-interpreted, paved path around day use area.
  • Three-fourths mile (one way), primitive, backwoods, ADA trail. Depending on ability, assistance may be required.
  • Amphitheater is universally accessible.
  • Visitor center with live exhibits (in season).
  • Paved path leads to picnic shelters 1 and 2.
  • Although motorized vehicles are not permitted on park trails, electric wheelchairs and electric scooters that meet the federal definition for wheelchairs are allowed to enable people with disabilities to use the trails


York River State Park takes its name from the river along its border, which is formed from the joining of the Pamunkey and Mattaponi rivers at West Point, 10 miles upriver from the park. Croaker Landing, found within the park, is an archaeological site included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Known in its early history as Taskinas Plantation, this was the site of a 17th and 18th century public tobacco warehouse where local planters stored their crops to be shipped to England. Remnants of wooden "corduroy" roads dating from this period can still be seen along Taskinas Creek at low tide. The park was opened in 1980 to preserve the unique environment and the land that was so significant to the early history of the state (Source).


Last updated: September 30, 2020
Captain John Smith Chesapeake Trail