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Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! Water trail maps are for informational and interpretive purposes only and are not meant for navigational purposes, nor do they take into account level of skills or ability required to navigate rivers. The National Park Service, Chesapeake Conservancy and/or the individual trail associations assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of water trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials. Learn more about water safety.
We STRONGLY suggested that you review the marine forecast ahead of heading out for a paddling trip. To review the forecast for this paddle trip, visit:
See the most recent tide information.
In the event of an emergency, call 911.
Inova Emergency Room, HealthPlex Lorton
9321 Sanger Street
Lorton VA 22079
Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center (near Occoquan Bay NWR)
2300 Opitz Boulevard
Woodbridge, VA 22191
Occoquan Regional Park
9751 Ox Road
Lorton, VA 22079
In writing about his expedition up the Potomac River in June 1608, Captain John Smith noted his friendly reception by the “Toags” (Dogue), the native people of the Occoquan River. On the lower Occoquan River near Belmont Bay, Smith and his men are thought to have visited the Dogue’s main town, Tauxenent—a site believed to be between Occoquan Regional Park and Massey Creek.
Prior to English settlement in Virginia, the Occoquan valley was a major settlement to the Algonquian Dogue Indians who named the area “Occoquan” which means ‘at the end of the water.’ The Occoquan river, in proximity to the greater Potomac, was ideal for trade and transportation. The Anglo-Americans of Virginia also realized Occoquan’s ideal location as a trade hub. A shipping landing built in 1729 and a tobacco warehouse built in 1736 catalyzed the development of industries like forges, water grist mills, tolling mills, saw mills, storehouses, and a bake house. By 1755, Occoquan had become a major industrial town. One of the first automated grist mills in America, the Merchants’ Mill, was built in 1759. In 1804, the town of Occoquan was formally established.