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Itinerary:

Running the Blockade at Leesylvania State Park

In 1861, General Robert E. Lee sought to choke supplies to the Union army in Washington by setting up artillery batteries along the Potomac River and blockade the waterway. Lee’s artillery placements were to prevent supplies and reinforcements from reaching Washington, and if successful, would force the surrender of the Union army. A three-gun artillery position was placed at Freestone Point (now in Leesylvania State Park) - this was also the birthplace of Robert E. Lee’s father, “Light-Horse Harry” Lee. On September 25, 1861, the artillery battery at Freestone Point exchanged shots with the Federal gunboats OSS Seminole and the Jacob Bell. The short battle ended in a draw with no deaths and little damage on either side.

Paddling Notes

  • The park includes boat launching ramps and parking for 200 cars/trailers. A cartop launch area is located on Powells Creek for smaller boats such as canoes, kayaks, etc. A park store and gas dock are also located here. Motorboats are allowed. There are no restrictions on motor horsepower.
  • Leesylvania has four primitive campsites limited to paddle in groups.
  • Situated on "Freestone Point," referring to the sandstone which early settlers took from the property for building purposes, the park lands were once part of Leesylvania Plantation. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III, a revolutionary war colonel and father of Robert E. Lee, was born here. The Lee mansion burned in the 18th century, but the family gravesite remains, as do the ruins of a later 19th century house. Visitors of the park can see the site of a Confederate gun emplacement from the Civil War.

Navigational Hazards

None

Water Safety

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.

Marine Forecast

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:

Emergency Information

In the event of an emergency, call 911.

Facility address:

Leesylvania State Park
2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive
Woodbridge, VA 22191-4504
703-730-8205

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
2300 Opitz Boulevard
Woodbridge, VA 22191
703-523-1000

Parking & Shuttles

  • There are 4 parking lots. There are two large parking lots on the north end and south end of the visitor store. These are the closest parking lots to the launch points, which are located on the river side of the parking lots.
  • Parking is $5.00 for VA residents and $7.00 for non-VA residents.
  • During Prime Season weekends and holidays (Memorial Day through Labor Day), admission for non-VA residents is $9.00.
  •  The park is open from 6:00 a.m. until a half-hour after sunset Monday-Friday, and 5:00 a.m. until a half-hour after sunset on Saturday and Sunday.

Restrooms

  • There are several options for restrooms in the Park. Public restrooms are available in the Park Office, the Park Store, and at the Visitors Center.
  • Closest is behind Marina store

Equipment

  • ALWAYS wear a personal flotation device (PFD) properly secured, at all times when participating in paddlesport activities.
  • Always bring a paddle float and water pump for self rescue.
  • A spray skirt is recommended in cold/foul weather.
  • Whether you are renting or bringing your own, make sure that your PFD has a safety whistle that is readily accessible.
  • Wear protective clothing appropriate to the weather, activity, and environment especially sun protection (large brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeved water-appropriate shirt, sunblock lotion). Assume that you will get wet and be mindful that your clothing would be safe to swim in.
  • Footwear: watershoes or similar are a must have for paddlesports. Launch areas and the river can contain abrasive hazards that can cut feet. Footwear that protects toes and can be walked in when wet is necessary. Flip-flops and sandals are not sufficient or appropriate.
  • Water: Bring water in bottles than can be secured to your boat. Bring more water than you expect to need and drink it throughout your paddling journey.

Outfitters

Camping & Ammenities

  • A park store operates April-October and includes snack bar/buffet, groceries, bathhouse, marine gasoline/oil, bait and tackle.
  • A small, tents-only primitive campground for groups only; reservations are required. For group camping please put contact Leesylvania for pricing.
  • Hampton’s Landing Marina has a pull-out boat ramp that can be accessed for $5.00. Kayakers can pull their boats onto the ramp and access the Marina’s restrooms, bathhouse, and store which has refreshments.

Trail History

Captain John Smith and Pocahontas visited the area in 1608 during his “voyage of discovery.”

Weather

Main image: vspycc