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Virginia State Parks

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USA Parks
Northern Region
Pocahontas State Forest
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Located in Chesterfield County the Pocahontas State Forest is a stunning natural oasis, spanning over 8,000 acres of pristine wilderness. It offers a diverse range of outdoor recreational activities for nature enthusiasts of all ages. With its towering pine trees, tranquil lakes, and winding trails, the forest provides a picturesque setting for hiking, biking, camping, and birdwatching. Visitors can navigate through its extensive trail system, which weaves through dense forests and meandering streams, showcasing the region's rich biodiversity. The Pocahontas State Forest not only provides a peaceful escape from the surrounding urban area but also serves as a vital habitat for various wildlife species, making it an inviting destination for those seeking a closer connection with nature.
History of the Area
Pocahontas State Forest, located in Chesterfield County, Virginia, has a history that dates back to the early 20th century. The forest was originally known as "Swift Creek Recreational Area" and was created in 1936 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program to provide employment during the Great Depression.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public work relief program, was responsible for the development of the forest. From 1936 to 1941, CCC workers constructed various recreational facilities, including a 150-acre lake known as Swift Creek Lake. They also built picnic shelters, cabins, campgrounds, and trails.

During World War II, the Army used the area known as "Camp Pocahontas," which also included the Pocahontas State Park nearby, for military training exercises. After the war, the state took over the control of the forest and further developed it for recreational purposes.

In 1989, the state forest was officially designated as Pocahontas State Forest separate from the adjacent Pocahontas State Park. It offers a wide range of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and horseback riding. The forest covers over 8,000 acres and continues to be managed by the Virginia Department of Forestry.
1. Pocahontas State Park offers 129 campsites with water and electric hookups, picnic tables, grills and lantern holders.
2. There are four camping cabins available for rent year:round in the park.
3. The Swift Creek Campground has sites suitable for tents or RVs up to 50 feet long.
4. Group Camping is also an option at two primitive campgrounds: Beaver Lake Group Camp & Powhatan Youth Center Area.
5. Equestrian camping facilities include a horse stable area near Bright Hope Horse Complex within the state forest.

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Pocahontas State Forest is located near Chester, Chesterfield and Colonial Heights

1. Beaver Lake Trail: A 2. 5-mile loop trail around the scenic Beaver Lake, offering views of local wildlife and flora.

2. Bright Hope Trail: This is a moderate difficulty level hiking path stretching over 6 miles through dense forest.

3. CCC Museum Loop: An easy one mile hike that takes you past an outdoor museum showcasing Civilian Conservation Corps history.

4. Forest Exploration Trail: At just under half a mile long, this educational trail offers interpretive signs about forestry practices in Virginia.

5. Laurel Glen Horse/Hiking/Bike Pathway: Multi-use pathway covering approximately eight miles with diverse terrain including forests and wetlands areas for exploration on foot or horseback/bicycle.

6. Powhatan Interpretative Trails: Two trails totaling two-thirds of a mile each providing information about Native American culture within Pocahontas State Park area.

7. Swift Creek Bluff Nature Preserve Hiking Route: Roughly three-quarters of a mile nature preserve walk featuring stunning bluff-top view points overlooking swift creek reservoir.

8. Spillway Mountain Bike/Trail Run/Walk Track: Approximately five-miles multi-purpose track ideal for mountain biking, trail running or walking along spillways.

9. Turkey Backbone Off-Road Cycling /Hiker's Waypoint: Nearly seven-and-a-half-mile off-road cycling/hikers' route traversing mixed hardwoods/pine woods sections.

10. Campground Connector Walking/Cycling Lane: About four-and-a-quarter-mile connector lane linking campground to other park facilities suitable both as pedestrian/cyclist passage.

11. Old Mill Bicycling/Jogging/Footpath Course: Just short-of-three-miles course passing by old mill site perfect either as bicyclist's/jogger's circuit/walker's stroll .

12. Little Westham Creek Fishing Access Walkabout: Half-Mile fishing access walk leading to Little Westham creek teeming with variety of fish species .

13. Swift Creek Lake Paddling Launch Walkway: Quarter-mile walk leading to Swift creek lake paddling launch point for canoeing/kayaking enthusiasts.

14. Coal Pit Trail: A 1.5 mile trail that takes you through the forest and past an old coal pit.

15. Powhatan Lakes Loop: This is a moderate difficulty level hiking path stretching over 4 miles around two lakes.

16. Old Forest Road Hiking Path: Approximately three-and-a-half-miles long former logging road now serving as hiker's pathway winding through mixed hardwoods/pine woods sections.

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Area Campgrounds
Ponderosa Mobile Home
7725 Jeff Davis Highway
Richmond, VA
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Castaway Sporting Goods
11600 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Chester, VA
(804) 706-9100
Fishing Connection
2420 Buena Vista Blvd
Chester, VA
(804) 748-3197

From Richmond, Virginia:
1. Start on I:95 S.
2. Take exit 61B for VA:10 W towards Chesterfield.
3. Merge onto Iron Bridge Rd/VA:10 W.

4. Continue to follow VA:10 W about 5 miles.
5. Turn right onto Beach Road / State Route 655.
6. After around four miles turn left into the park entrance.

If coming from Petersburg, Virginia:

1. Start on I:85 N/I :95 N toward Richmond/Washington D.C..
2. Take Exit #58A (I:295) North/Richmond International Airport.
3. Merge with US460 West via EXIT#15 B:A toward Amelia/Powhatan.

4. Continue straight until you reach Courthouse road and take a Left at light.
5. After approximately three Miles make another left in Pocahontas state forest Park Entrance.

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Virginia State Parks