Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Seasons: All
  • Site Contact: (757) 294-3625,
  • Site Access: Fee, Daily
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Site CTW05: Chippokes Plantation State Park


Chippokes Plantation State Park covers 1,683 acres. The park combines a wilderness of dense woodlands overlooking the James River with a historic site consisting of one of the oldest continually farmed properties in the country. Although cultivated lands within the park are foraging sites for eastern bluebird, migrating shorebirds, and several species of raptors, most wildlife viewers will gravitate toward the park's natural habitats, including tidal marshes and sloughs, stands of loblolly pine, mixed hardwood forest, and bald cypress swamp. During spring, the site offers views of migrating hawks as they pass by the bluffs near the visitor center. The most popular birding spot in the park is probably the College Run Trail that begins just east of the visitor center. Upon reaching the Mansion site, two trails, the James River Trail and the Lower Chippokes Trail, provide access to tidal wetlands. During summer, guided canoe tours are available on the park's tidal creek. Those who do not wish to bird from the water will see numerous birds along the park's roads and trails. Some of the park's more interesting birds include least bittern, sharp-shinned and red-shouldered hawks, king rail, bald eagle, and more than 20 species of breeding and migrating warblers. By walking along the shoreline, visitors can view an array of fossils of creatures that once lived at the bottom of prehistoric seas. The park is also a popular spot for cycling. Stop by the park's visitor center to pick up a trail map.


Exit Hog Island WMA via Rt. 650 South. From the Carlisle Tract, take Rt. 650 for 2.6 miles south to Rt. 617/Bacons Castle Road. Turn right on Rt. 617 and travel for 1.3 miles. In the village of Bacons Castle, turn right on SR 10, continuing for 2.2 miles. Turn right on Rt. 633/Chippokes Farm Road, proceed 2.0 miles, and turn left onto Rt. 634/Alliance Rd. Go 0.9 miles to the park entrance.

Loop Map