The Scenic Route: A Guide to Local Parks and Trails

In looking for ways to enjoy this year’s Spring Break there’s no need to look any further than Chesterfield County itself. With natural splendor and glimpses of paradise often only a short drive or walk away, there is something for everyone around every corner of our large county. Between the two rivers – the James and the Appomattox – and the south-eastern parts of Chesterfield are numerous parks with miles of wooded trails that are well-preserved and maintained solely for us community members to enjoy. In an effort to get the community outside this spring and bask in what nature has to offer, the Village News has spotlighted a list of local trails. The following five parks were judged and rated on a four-star system in four categories: Family Events, Scenery, Historic Value, Sporting and Overall Value.

It’s a great time of the year to leave the house and explore what makes Chesterfield County the unique and beautiful place that it is.

THE ROMANTIC RETREAT
Dutch Gap Conservation Area off Coxendale Road, Chester
Roughly two miles off Rt. 10, Dutch Gap is the perfect after-work park for couples to experience a Virginia sunset from the beaches of the James. Its trail runs through parts of wooded terrain and alongside much of the river, and its natural feel leads you away from your in-town worries. Pay no attention to the adjacent Dominion power plant, this park is an escape from industry and commercialism and quickly leads you to a faraway place. A boat ramp is provided, fishing is encouraged, but once again, eating your catch is not recommended. Also, the area was once used by Union soldiers in building a canal during the Civil War. No $ to enjoy.

Family Events • • •

Scenery • • • •

Historical Value • • • •

Sporting •

Overall • • •

THE HISTORY BLUFF
Fort Darling at Drewry’s Bluff, off Bellwood Road, just before Defense Supply Center Richmond going north on Jeff Davis Hwy.
Down a winding road and tucked away from the busy parts of that initial area, the site is easily overlooked – so keep a strong eye for the park’s sign after driving below the I-95 overpass. With limited parking, the park is open to the public during light hours, offering scenic trails, historic interpretations and an observation deck overlooking the breath-taking James River. The site hosted the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff, where Confederate soldiers prevented a Union navy from advancing on Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, during the Civil War. Now a Richmond National Battlefield Park, Drewry’s Bluff remains the only National park in Chesterfield.  DO NOT CLIMB THE CANNON. No $ to enjoy.

Family Events •

Scenery • • •

Historical Value • • • •

Sporting •

Overall • • •

THE COMPLETE OUTDOOR PACKAGE
Pocahontas State Park, 10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield
Next up is Chesterfield’s pride providing county members with just about every recreational outlet available: canoeing/kayaking, camping, live entertainment and hiking. With trails for walking, running, biking and horseback riding, Pocahontas offers people the true outdoor experience. Trails run throughout the 7,950-acre park, the largest state park in Virginia. While hunting is forbidden, fishing is allowed but there isn’t much to catch unfortunately. Swimming in the lakes are also prohibited, however, the park has a swimming pool with a snack bar starting up later this spring. The site welcomes large gatherings and family events with pavilions capable of seating many. $ is required for entrance.

Family Events • • • •

Scenery • • •

Historical Value • •

Sporting • •

Overall • • •

THE HIDDEN TREASURE
John J. Radcliffe Appomattox River Conservation Area, 21501 Chesdin Road, Matoaca/Petersburg
Don’t be fooled by the “Petersburg” address, Radcliffe is nestled in one of the more remote corners of the county. A bit of a drive for those in the village, the park is well worth the trek when you see how it captures Virginia at its very best. See the falls of the historic Appomattox River and the adventurous, well-maintained trail that runs alongside it, or visit the site for a small picnic or cookout. Fishing is also quite popular but a warning is posted not to eat the fish. No $ to enjoy.

Family Events • • •

Scenery • • • •

Historical Value •

Sporting • • •

Overall • • •

THE FAMILY NEST
Harry G. Daniels Park at Ironbridge, 6600 White Pine Road, Chesterfield
It’s a park that has something for everyone in the family. Ironbridge, with its focus on athletic recreation, is certainly one of the most familial and popular park in the area because of its central county location and the local youth sports programs that call the site home. Located just off Rt. 10, it provides baseball, softball, soccer and football fields that open to the public unless already occupied. Shady dirt paths outline the park with benches and playgrounds for the little ones. There is a winding trail system that is a perfect fit for moms wanting to get some exercise while the kids are at practice. It is also a great trail for getting a few miles out of the family dog or just for taking a casual stroll. No $ to enjoy.

Family Events • • •  

Scenery •   

Historical Value •   

Sporting • •   

Overall • •

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