Paradise Creek Nature Park

Description

This 40-acre park offers two mile of multi-use, easy nature trails to explore an urban oasis off Paradise Creek. The park is an excellent example of wetland restoration and it’s just one component of the larger, on-going creek restoration that began in 2001. Interpretive signs along the trails tell the story of how the non-profit Elizabeth River Project, the City of Portsmouth, The Port of Virginia, and many other partners restored the park’s eleven acres of salt marsh to a natural state, bringing back a part of the Elizabeth River, once presumed dead.

The park trails traverse an old growth coastal oak woodland (a rarity along the Elizabeth River and especially in this urban area), meadows, and a restored saltwater marsh with a view of Paradise Creek. Birders will enjoy the diversity of birds that these various habitats attract. An impressive 160 species of birds have been documented at this successful restoration site, including osprey, hawks, and bald eagles; clapper rail; northern bobwhite; a diversity of herons and egrets; woodpeckers; belted kingfisher; indigo bunting; blue grosbeak; and a wide diversity of waterfowl in winter months. During spring and fall migration, a wide variety of warblers may be spotted. Some of the best vantage points in the park for birding are the bridge on the Osprey Trail, which overlooks Paradise Creek and the saltwater marsh, the top of the earthworks mound on the Blue Heron Trail, and the length of the Otter Trail between the woodland and the marsh, which provides easy spotting in its edge habitat.

In addition to its diverse birds, the park also provides opportunities to spot a wide diversity of butterflies and other pollinators, including the salt marsh skipper, long-tailed skipper, monarch, eastern tiger swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail, zebra swallowtail, pearl crescent, and common buckeye. Box turtles are also commonly observed at the park along with foxes and non-venomous snakes.

A canoe/ kayak launch, just a short towage from the parking area, is available for those who wish to explore the creek and Elizabeth River.

 

Directions

Physical Address: 1141 Victory Blvd, Portsmouth, VA 23702

From I-464 in the South Norfolk neighborhood of Chesapeake, exit at Poindexter Street/ VA-337. Merge onto the Jordan Bridge (toll road), which provides a superb view of the Elizabeth River. After the bridge, turn left at the first light onto Victory Blvd/ VA-239. Cross Paradise Creek. In 0.7 miles, look for the Paradise Creek Nature Park entrance sign on the left, just after Beach Marine. Make a U-turn to enter the park.

From I-264 in Portsmouth, travel east towards the Downtown Tunnel. Before the tunnel, take exit 3 to Victory Blvd/ VA-239. Turn right onto Victory Blvd at the traffic light at the bottom of the ramp. Travel 3.2 miles east through five stoplights (last light is George Washington Hwy). Watch for the Enviva sign on the right. The Paradise Creek Nature Park entrance sign is just after that on the right. Turn right into the park entrance.