Hiking at York River State Park

5526 Riverview Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188

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More than 25 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails provide access to the parks beautiful and diverse natural areas.

Hiking Trails At York River State Park

Backbone Trail

The Backbone Trail is a wide 1.5 mile, moderate difficulty, multi-use trail that runs south from the Contact Station to the southern part of the park. The trail is open to hiking and biking for its entire length, however equestrians are permitted only south of Black Bear Run. The trail is accessible from the Contact Station, and from the Beaver, Woodstock Pond, Laurel Glen, Black Bear Run, Pumunkey, Powhatan Forks, Riverview, White-tail, and Me-Te-Kos trails. It passes through hardwood forest rich with wildlife and featuring numerous views of the park and surrounding areas.

Blaze Color: Gold

Usage:

HikingMountain BikingHorseback Riding

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yorkriver

  • Length: 1.73
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Surface: Sandy Earth, Gravel
Beaver Trail

The Beaver Trail is a 0.5 mile, easy trail for hiking only, that connects the Backbone Trail to the Woodstock Pond Trail near its northern Mataponi Trail access. The trail closely follows the south side of Woodstock Pond through wooded and marsh areas. Several boardwalks aid hikers in the wetter areas.

Blaze Color: Silver

Usage:

Hiking

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yorkriver

  • Length: 0.5
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Surface: Earth
Dogwood Lane Trail

The Dogwood Lane Trail is a .8 mile, easy multi-use trail that is accessible in two places from the White Tail Trail. It makes a semi-circle as it passes through the woods, coming out at another point on the White Tail Trail. The path here is narrower than on the neighboring trail and is somewhat more scenic.

Blaze Color: Bronze

Usage:

HikingMountain BikingHorseback Riding

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yorkriver

  • Length: 0.76
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Surface: Earth
Majestic Oak Trail

The Majestic Oak Trail is a .74 mile, moderate difficulty multi-use trail that is accessible from the Spurr Trail and the Powhatan Fork Trail. The trail passes through the woodland environment that typifies the park. It is named because, near its end, the trail passes an ancient oak tree that is estimated to be between 200 and 400 years old and is believed to be the oldest oak in the park. Past this giant tree, and toward the river, the trail is no longer suitable for horses, riders will need to return to the Spur Trail. Near the York River the trail winds down a steep bank where a bridge crosses the marsh. From the bridge, the trail winds up the bank and becomes the north fork of the Powhatan Fork Trail.

Blaze Color: White

Usage:

HikingMountain BikingHorseback Riding

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yorkriver

  • Length: 0.8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Surface: Earth
Mattaponi Trail

The Mattaponi Trail is a .85 mile, easy hiking trail that is accessible in two places from the Woodstock Pond Trail and provides access to the fossil beach, where shark teeth and other fossilized material may be found. Named for the Indians who once inhabited the area, the trail passes along wooded cliffs and across marshes all offering good views of the York River. South of the fossil beach access, the trial becomes wider and the area becomes grassier. A long bridge spans the marsh at one place and on either side of it the trail is fairly steep.

Blaze Color: Lt. Blue

Usage:

Hiking

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yorkriver

  • Length: 0.85
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Surface: Boardwalks, Earth
Powhatan Fork Trail

The Powhatan Fork Trail is a 1.6 mile, moderate difficulty multi-use trail, that is accessible from the Backbone, Majestic Oak, Spurr, and Riverside Trails. A wide, gently downhill sloping trail it passes mainly through wooded areas and has two forks. The east fork takes users towards the river where there is a bench at the top of the cliff with panoramic views of the surrounding area. The north fork takes users into the salt marshes. The portion of the trail that connects to the Majestic Oak Trail is not suitable for horses, as it winds down into the marsh and crosses a footbridge where it joins the other trail.

Blaze Color: Beige

Usage:

HikingMountain BikingHorseback Riding

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yorkriver

  • Length: 1.6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Surface: Earth
Pumunkey Trail

The Pumunkey Trail is a 0.9 mile, moderate difficulty multi-use trail, that is accessible from both the Backbone Trail and the Spur Trail. Named for another tribe of Indians who once inhabited the region, this trail takes users from the Backbone or Spurr Trails downhill to an observation tower that overlooks the York River. Bikers should use caution as portions of the trail are steep and sandy. The trail passes through the forested areas that are typical of this park.

Blaze Color: Yellow

Usage:

HikingMountain BikingHorseback Riding

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yorkriver

  • Length: 0.9
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Surface: Earth
Riverview Trail

The Riverview Trail is a 1.44 mile, moderate difficulty multi-use trail that leads from the Backbone Trail to the southernmost access to the York River. The trail is also accessible via a short connector to the Powhatan Forks Trail. It passes through a wooded area and, not far from the river, is blocked by a fence with a pass-thru for hikers only. Bicycle and horseback riders must proceed on foot from this point. The remote location of this trail makes it especially suited for observing wildlife. Near the beach the trail becomes sandy and observant hikers will often spot evidence of the abundant wildlife that inhabit this area. At the end of the trail there is a seating area where one can relax before returning to the trail head.

Blaze Color: Dark Blue

Usage:

HikingMountain BikingHorseback Riding

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yorkriver

  • Length: 1.44
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Surface: Earth
 

The Spur Trail is a short, easy, connecting trail between the Powhatan Forks, Majestic Oak, and Pumunkey Trails. Near its southern end a 1940s era house once stood. Before it was torn down some believed that the abandoned home was haunted. Check out the popular Ghost Hike program if you are dying to find out more about this story.

Blaze Color: Black

Usage:

HikingMountain BikingHorseback Riding

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yorkriver

  • Length: 0.4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Surface: Earth
Taskinas Trail

The Taskinas Creek Trail is a 1.5 mile hiking loop that is accessible near the horse trailer parking just south of the Visitor Center. It can also be accessed near the northernmost Meh-Te-Kow Challenge Loop access point. The trail passes through a variety of habitats ranging from field to forest. At the halfway point the trail takes hikers along Taskinas Creek Marsh Area where they may see ospreys and great blue herons from the four observation decks that have been built by local Eagle Scouts. This is a trail loop with numerous changes in elevation.

Blaze Color: Red

Usage:

Hiking

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yorkriver

  • Length: 1.5
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Surface: Earth, Boardwalks, Steps
White-tail Trail

The White-Tail Trail is a .76 mile, moderate difficulty multi-use trail that is accessible from the Backbone Trail and provides subsequent access in two places to the Dogwood Lane Trail. The trail passes through the woods bringing users to an area where the trail ends and users must turn around. When combined with the Dogwood Trail this trail makes an interesting loop through shaded forest. Near the end of the trail, seasonal views of the river may be had through he trees.

Blaze Color: Brown

Usage:

HikingHorseback RidingMountain Biking

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yorkriver

  • Length: 0.8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Surface: Earth
Woodstock Pond Trail

The Woodstock Pond Trail is a 1.5 mile easy trail for hikers and bikers. It is accessible near shelter 3, from the Backbone Trail, as well as from the Beaver Trail. The trail provides access to the Mataponi Trail. This wide dirt and fine gravel trail takes users from the Visitor Center over the dam and around Woodstock Pond, returning to the Backbone Trail. On this trail you will go near the sites where the Woods House (1930) and the Henderson House (pre-1817) once stood. The trail features fitness stations with chin up bars, monkey bars, and platforms for doing push-ups and sit-ups.

Blaze Color: Gray

Usage:

HikingMountain Biking

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