Caledon State Park Loop

  • Highlights: River views, wildlife, birdwatching
  • Distance:  7.1 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 426 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: 11617 Caledon Road, King George VA
  • Website: Caledon State Park
  • Beer Pairings: Colonial Beach Brewery, Beach Brew-nette & Monroe Bay IPA

The Hike:

Caledon became a Virginia State Park in 2012, but its history goes back to Caledon Plantation established in 1659. The park has a network of trails all of which are well marked. The trailhead has a large sign with a park map and trail information. The hike begins to the right of the parking lot. This hike has many trail junctions so you will want to pay attention at the well marked junctions. If you get lost, keep turning right and you will eventually return to the parking lot. You may want to pick up a trail map at the visitor center.

This hike covers the outer perimeter of the park with a connector trail to the Potomac River and the Caledon Natural Area. The hike is fairly level and there are many opportunities to see wildlife and birds. The first four trails are all connected loops and they wind through the forest with woodland views and several bridges to cross creeks and ravines. Begin on the Red-blazed Fern Hollow trail which leaves from the parking lot across from the visitor center. Turn right at the junction for the Poplar Grove Trail (Blue) and then right on the Laurel Glen Trail (Yellow) and then right again on the Benchmark Trail (Orange). Next take a right on the Belmont Trail (Green).

The 1.2 mile Belmont Trail connects the previous short loop trails with the Potomac River. This is a pleasant hike and we saw several deer on this trail. Belmont intersects with the Caledon Marsh Trail (Pink). This is the only left-turn on this hike. Turn left here and the trail changes to a gravel road surface. Follow the Caledon Marsh trail for .5 miles and stay right at the junction. The trail approaches the Potomac River, stay straight for some nice river views. There are picnic tables and benches here. Retrace your steps back on the pink trail and take a right on the Rookery Trail (Lime Green). This trail will take you to the marsh area. There is a short excursion to a viewing area on the right and a second viewing area at the end of the Rookery Trail. Bald eagles, blue heron, and many other river birds roost here.

Retrace your steps back to the junction with the Caledon Marsh Trail (Pink) turn right here and return to the Belmont Trail (Green). Turn right at this junction and retrace your steps back to the junction with the Benchmark Trail (Orange). If you want to return to the parking area, turn left here and retrace your steps. For a longer hike, turn right on the orange-blazed Benchmark Trail and at the next junction turn right on the Cedar Ridge trail (White). This is the most challenging trail in the park. Follow the trail downhill and then over a small footbridge and begin working your way uphill. This section winds through a dense woodland and connects with the Potomac Heritage Trail (Sky Blue). Take a right on Potomac Heritage, a 2.5 mile trail which returns to the parking area. It begins with a gradual uphill section and will soon leave the forest and enter a wide field near the park entrance. Pass through the amphitheater, picnic shelter, and playground and then return to the parking area and your vehicle. 

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Colonial Beach Brewing is about 30 minutes south of Caledon State Park. We had never heard of this brewery before so we decided to travel further south on the Potomac and give them a try. We were glad we did. CBB is a small brewery with a nice patio. They well selling flatbread pizzas from Denson’s, a farm-to-table restaurant located in Colonial Beach. The flatbreads were really good and were the perfect compliment to our beers. Kathy really liked the Monroe Bay IPA, a west coast IPA with serious hoppiness—90 IBUs. We liked hoppy, bitter IPAs and this was a textbook example. Pete tried Beach Brew-nette, an English-style brown ale, and it was great. It was malty with a hint of toasted caramel—a classic English brown.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.