Windsor Castle Park

  • Highlights: Historic buildings, wildlife, birdwatching, creek and marsh views
  • Distance: 4.1 miles loop
  • Elevation change: 64 feet
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Trailhead Parking: Dan Smith Drive parking area, Smithfield VA
  • Website: Windsor Castle Park
  • Beer Pairings: Wharf Hill Brewing—Holy Brale brown ale & Outage IPA

The Hike:

Windsor Castle Farm in Smithfield was originally part of a 1,450 acre parcel established in 1637. The founder of Smithfield Foods purchased the estate and donated it to the city of Smithfield in 2010. The park includes 208 acres along the banks of the Pagan River and Cypress Creek. The trails are well marked and can be reached from a variety of locations. The trail consists of four segments: red, blue, purple, and yellow, see the trail map for more details.

We were joined by our daughter Emily on this hike. The trailhead is near the main parking area by the dog park and playground area. We walked clockwise from the parking area. The trail passes through the woodlands before reaching the Mason Street Bridge. This pedestrian bridge crosses Little Creek and is one of several entry points to the park.

The trail continues past the play area on the right and crosses over Jericho Road. The Jericho Bridge crosses over the creek with views of the wetlands. The trail continues to a junction leading to Station Bridge. Cross the bridge for views of Little Creek on the left, Cypress Creek on the right, and the Pagan River. This is another entry point to the park.

Return to the main trail loop and continue to a short spur trail on the left with more views of Cypress Creek. Bald eagles have been seen here and we observed a mother deer and fawn on our hike. Return to the loop and the historic farm buildings are on the right. The manor house and outbuildings date from the 18th and 19th century. Check the park website for tour information.

Continue on the trail to the kayak launch area on left. At the next junction, continue straight to an overlook with more wildlife viewing opportunities. Continue to follow the trail as it crosses over Jericho Lane. The parking area and your vehicle are just ahead on the right. If you want to extend the hike, take the first left after crossing the road and follow the purple loop through the meadow and then take the first right to return to the parking area and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Located less than a mile from the Windsor Castle Park is Wharf Hill Brewing Co. Many breweries also offer food. Wharf Hill is a restaurant that also brews their own beer. Both the food and the beer are top notch.

Pete enjoyed the Holy Brale brown ale and it was a perfect pairing with the fish filet sandwich. Kathy and Emily both liked Outage IPA, a west coast-style IPA. It was nicely hopped with 85 IBUs.  The food and beer were great and Smithfield has some interesting Victorian architecture and is well worth a visit. 

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

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