York River State Park

Williamsburg, Virginia 23187

York River State Park

York River State Park Professional Review and Guide

"The worm-eating warbler, common to Virginia’s Blue Ridge province, is also found in the coastal environment of York River State Park. After walking through the park’s forests, thick with mountain laurel and holly, shaded by chestnut oaks and American beech, hikers will agree with the songbird: This park feels a lot like Virginia’s mountain regions.

Most paths here lead through mature hardwood forests to overlooks onto the York River. Land underfoot holds evidence—pottery shards, arrowheads—of settlement dating from tens of thousands of years ago. Perhaps the park’s most interesting story is still being recorded—that of the Taskinas Creek Estuary, a vital marsh and hardwood swamp monitored by scientists as a gauge of the Chesapeake Bay’s health."

More York River State Park Professional Reviews and Guides

"At 2,550 acres, York River State Park encompasses a great diversity of terrain and ecosystems. Visitors likewise enjoy numerous options for exploring the park’s estuarine marshes, the sandy shoreline of the tidal York, and the wooded ridges overlooking both. This balloon hike can be extended to the east or west.

Prior to English colonization, Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indians inhabited the York River shoreline. As settlers converted former hunting grounds to crop fields, the tribes withdrew inland and upriver along their namesake tributaries, which converge to form the York 10 miles northwest of the park."

"This ride's general location is 11 miles west of Williamsburg. Scenery includes mature hardwoods leading to a bluff overlooking the York River. This is a good family or beginner ride. The State Park has two distinctly different sets of trails open to bicycles. The Marl Ravine Trail is one option. This ride is a system of trails forming an easy, seven-mile, out-and-back ride from the Visitor Center via the Backbone, Riverview, and White-Tail Trails, with a short loop around Beaver Pond.

These wide double-track trails are just the thing for a nice spring or fall day. Backbone Trail is the longest of the trails, and the others shoot away from it like floating ribs. The Riverview and White-Tail Trails spur off the end of the 1.3 mile Backbone and offer two ways to get to a nice bluff in the woods overlooking the York River."

York River State Park Reviews

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York River State Park is a great place for hiking enthusiasts. The park is home to several well-maintained and scenic trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels. Some of the park’s trails are less than a mile, while others are more than two miles. So, it’s a great spot to go on a short hike or to combine multiple trails for longer hikes. Dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed. (Note: There is a 4.5 mile trail in the park that is designated for horseback riding only. It is designated as a bridle trail, so be sure to avoid it when deciding where to hike.)
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Nice trail 5 minutes from downtown Richmond. Half of the hike is on a wide gravel path/road used heavily by mountain bikers. Other half is on a dirt path through the woods. The woods section is beautiful. It is hard to imagine you are that close to the city. The hike is easy and fast. When at the northwestern part of the circuit, you can take a path across a small inlet to the 42nd Street Island. When you come out the other side of the path, you will behold beatiful views of the James River (with loads of rocks to lounge on) and a view of the Richmond skyline.
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I had set out for a day hike on a warm winter day. The trail left from a populated state park. All trails were clearly marked, wide, and relatively flat. Perfect for family's with children as the trails were easy enough for children and strollers. I started the hike down Backbone trail. This route didn't offer much seclusion since it mirrored the road coming into the park. I then took short routes down Whitetail trail and Riverview. Riverview offered a spectacular view of The York river, this was a perfect place for a lunch picnic. Overall it was a good day hike for a quick getaway.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Trail Type
Skill Level
1-4 hours
Open daily year-round, 8 a.m. to dusk.
Boat Launch/Ramp, Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Biking
Additional Use
York River State Park, 5526 Riverview Rd., Williamsburg (757) 566-3036 dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/york-river
Local Contacts
DeLorme: Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer: Page 50, A1
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018