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Dutch Gap Conservation Area and Boat Landing


Dutch Gap Conservation Area Layout (PDF)


  1. Boat Slide (Canoe and Kayak)
  2. Camping Area
  3. Fishing
  4. Observation Blind
  5. Picnic Shelters
  6. Restrooms
  7. Trails

About James River at Dutch Gap

The James River is one of the most historic rivers in the United States. Artifacts found along its shores date back 11,000 years. From the time that Native Americans lived along the banks of the James River, it was a vital part of the livelihood of Virginia. It played important roles in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

The River Today

Today, it continues to be an important part of the state's economic development and recreational splendor. Visit the river at Dutch Gap and learn about the river's history and why it flows differently now from how it did when the Citie of Henricus was founded.

About the Conservation Area

Surrounding the 1611 Citie of Henricus, Henricus Historical Park, is nature in splendid abundance. “Dutch Gap” refers to Sir Thomas Dale’s attempt in 1611 to shorten river travel by cutting a new channel to bypass this meander. With the James River as a backdrop, the 800-plus-acre Dutch Gap Conservation Area includes a bounty of woodlands, wildlife and waterways. Dutch Gap also offers locations for those simply looking for a quiet place to reflect on life in a peaceful, open-air oasis. Dutch Gap also provides a boat landing on the James River.

See the Park Layout (PDF)

Natural Magnificence

Come visit this magnificent offering of idyllic, richly diverse land. It is bordered by the James River on the north and encircled by the old oxbow channel. A blue heron rookery looms high in the marsh along the entrance. Surrounding the rookery, beavers and muskrats swim in the waters of a freshwater swamp and marsh.

Things to Do

Dutch Gap is home to bald cypresses. It is an ornithologist's dream - providing delightful bird watching opportunities. The southern section, a 4.5-mile trail loop includes a freshwater tidal lagoon that is a favorite spot for anglers in search of bass. Eagles and other rare birds and a myriad of fish and wildlife can be viewed. Also the area includes a blue heron rookery and a 2.5-mile Lagoon Water Trail, where paddlers can observe the “graveyard” of submerged barges and several islands. There is access to the James River by foot or by boat. Hiking provides opportunities for exploration.

Protecting Natural Resources

Dutch Gap protects valuable natural resources and provides a site for environmental education. It offers tranquility and caters to individuals, families and other visitors seeking nature and time for solitude.


The Dutch Gap Conservation Area is operated by Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation.

Park Amenities

  • Camping Area (for organized groups, fees apply)
  • Fishing Access
  • Kayak / Canoe Access (441 Coxendale Road)
  • Lagoon Water Trail (PDF)
  • Observation Blind
  • Picnic Shelters (3)
  • Restrooms
  • Walking Trails (5.8 miles)

Dutch Gap Trail

  • 4.5 mile loop
  • Open for hiking, biking, walking, running and horseback riding

Lagoon Water Trail

  • 2.5 mile tidal Lagoon water trail
  • Explore by kayak or canoe
  • Observe the “Graveyard” of barges, wetlands, islands and a heron rookery
  • Safe flat-water environment suitable for beginners
  • View Trail Map (PDF)

Bird Watching

  • Superb in all seasons with the diverse habitats
  • Two observation platforms along the road entrance and bird blinds in the conservation area


  • Five docks along the River Trail situated throughout the conservation area
  • Tidal waters bring residential freshwater as well as migratory fish

Kayak / Canoe Tour

  • Individuals and groups can schedule a private kayak / canoe tour in the tidal lagoon.
  • 3-hour program, includes nature guides, boats, paddles and floatation devices
  • Minimum age is 7
  • Two hours of paddle time

Hours & Admission

  • Dutch Gap is open daily during daylight hours and admission is free.

More Information


  • From I-95 north or south, use Exit 61A
  • East on Route 10 to first stoplight
  • North on Route 732 to Route 615
  • Right on Route 615 to Henricus Road