Jamestown Island Loop

  • Highlights: History, James River views, wetlands, wildlife 
  • Distance: 5.6 mile loop
  • Elevation Change 42 feet
  • Trail Surface: Paved roadway with several wooden bridges
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trailhead Parking: Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center parking area, 1368 Colonial Parkway, Jamestown, VA. Park entry fee required.
  • Website: AllTrails and National Park Service
  • Beer Pairings: Virginia Beer Co.: Free Verse IPA & Elbow Patches oatmeal stout

The Hike:

Full disclosure: this “hike” is really a walk. Much of the surface is a paved road. This was our first hike with our grandson Joshua. Josh was six-months old and in a stroller so a paved surface was ideal in our situation. The road does have vehicle traffic with a 15 PMH speed limit. 

The Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center has restrooms, maps, and information about the park. After visiting the historic areas, we returned to the parking area to begin our walk. Follow the Colonial Parkway, also called Island Drive, heading east. Cars use this road so walk on the left facing oncoming traffic.

Island Drive is a one way figure-8 and vehicle traffic will bear to the right at the first fork in .3 miles. Continue to the left. The road passes through woodlands and marsh areas before reaching a bridge crossing over the Back River. Depending on the season, a variety of birds frequent this area including bald eagles, heron, and osprey.

Along Island Drive are several pull-offs with interpretive signs describing the history, animals, and people of this area. At 2.3 miles, a parking area and path on the left lead to Black Point. This short spur trail (.2 miles each way) leads to some nice James River views with more opportunities for birdwatching.

Return to the loop road and continue through more wetlands and forest areas. Follow the road to return to the visitor center parking area on the left and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Several breweries are located nearby. Billsburg Brewery is located just off the Colonial Parkway. Billsburg is a favorite of ours with great beers and waterfront views. We continued a few more miles on the parkway to Virginia Beer Co., located about 12 miles from the Visitor Center. Serving up “beer with purpose”, VBC has 16 taps, indoor and outdoor seating, live music, and regularly scheduled food trucks. 

Pete really liked Elbow Patches (6.2% ABV), an oatmeal stout brewed with Norther Brewer hops, roasted barley, and chocolate malt. It is seriously good. Kathy and Emily went with an old favorite: Free Verse (6.8% ABV), a hazy New England Pale Ale brewed with Azacca and Chinook hops. It tastes even better at the brewery. Josh was happy taking a nap after his first hike.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.