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Leesylvania opened in 1992. In 1978, noted philanthropist Daniel Ludwig donated the land to the state for a park. A national historical society, the Society of Lees of Virginia, was instrumental in securing the donation. Locally the area is known as Freestone Point, referring to the sandstone early settlers took from the property for building. Henry Lee III (Light Horse Harry) was born here at what was then Leesylvania Plantation in Colonial America. This Revolutionary War hero would later father the Confederate General Robert E. Lee of Civil War fame. Today, Leesylvania State Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking trails, a picnic area, a boat launch facility, and interpretive programming. The park covers 556 acres along the Potomac River in northern Virginia.
Outdoor Recreation Award for: Picnic Area, Water Recreation
The Bushey Point Trail is an easy 1.8 mile handicap accessible trail with a hard-packed rock dust surface. It can be accessed from the parking lot near the boat ramp, from the road near the Group Camp, or from the Powell's Creek Trail. The trail closely follows the path of Powell's Creek and the Potomac shore. Along the trail you will find convenient benches and several overlooks of the nearby waterways. The trail has some wet areas which are easily navigated by handicap accessible boardwalks. The trail passes the small boat launching area where canoes are available for rent. Osprey, bald eagles, blue heron and a variety of frogs can be seen and heard along this trail. Thanks to funds and volunteer labor donated by Dominion Power, the trail also offers a variety of exercise stations located at strategic intervals.
Blaze Color: Green
The Lee's Woods Trail Is a 1.96 mile moderate difficulty trail with a hard-packed dirt and rock dust surface and terraced steps which is accessible from the road near the entrance to the picnic area. This interpretive trail loops through historic ground including the sites of the homesteads of the Fairfax and Lee families, the Lee family cemetery and gardens, and Free Stone Point. As the trail loops out to Free Stone Point, you are walking the same ground where, General Robert E. Lee ordered the blockade of the Potomac during the Civil War hoping to cut off the North's water access to Washington D.C. Free Stone Point offered an elevated position where a battery of 32 pound cannons was positioned. At the point, you can see a cannon and imagine the deadly plunging fire the South could rain down upon approaching ships.
Blaze Color: Red
The Potomac Heritage Trail is a 2.3 mile moderate difficulty trail with a hard-packed dirt and rock dust surface which is accessible from the Park office and Powell's Creek trail. The Potomac Heritage Trail is part of the greater Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail under the National Trails System. The section in Leesylvania will eventually link up with sections to both the north and south. According to the National Park Service the trail is designed to let you "Experience the Corridor of Commerce First Imagined by George Washington." Linking the Potomac and upper Ohio river basins from Chesapeake Bay and Potomac tidewater to Allegheny Highlands, this scenic trail network lets you retrace by foot, bicycle, horse, or boat - the corridor George Washington explored as essential to U.S. national development.
Blaze Color: White
The Potomac Trail is a half mile handicap accessible trail with a hard-packed rock dust surface that parallels the beach between the boat landing area and the fishing pier. The trail passes through the picnic grounds and features beautiful views of the Potomac.
Blaze Color: Yellow
The Powell's Creek Trail is a 1.28 mile moderate difficulty loop which is accessible from a small parking lot approximately 200 yards past the park entrance and Contact Station or from the Bushey Point Trail. The trail winds through a mature hardwood forest consisting of a variety of trees including Red Oak, White Oak, Maple, Sweet Gum, Tulip Popular, Mountain Laurel and Paw Paw. A bridge crosses the ravine and Powell's Creek followed by terraced steps that climb out of the ravine to the trail and back to the trail head.
Blaze Color: Blue
The Picnic Area consists of a large wooded area which runs along the beach. It has playground equipment, easy road access, parking and plenty of picnic tables. There are four picnic shelters which can be reserved. Swimming is permitted but is at your own risk due to underwater hazards and boat activity.
Four large picnic shelters and an open area (Lee's Landing) are available for rent. To reserve, call the Reservations Center at 1-800-933-PARK. Per car parking fees are not covered in the rental. Shelters can be rented from 8 A.M. to dark (all day). A special use permit is required if you plan to use the shelter for something other than just picnicking - e.g., a wedding, worship service or other such special event. The permit details how the shelter can be used and when. Once the shelter capacity is reached, guests beyond that number must be turned away by park staff. All picnic shelters are handicap accessible, and shelter #4 has an attached concrete ramp, and a restroom facility which is available with the shelter reservation.
The Boat Ramp is located off the main road near the Breakwater Store. The ramp offers plenty of parking and paved launch access. In addition, a boat hoist has been installed to aid larger sail boats with access. Alcohol and swimming are strictly forbidden and violators will be ticketed.
The park features a large fishing pier that is located near the picnic area. The Potomac River is an excellent largemouth bass fishery. The river is tidal and the water considered fresh. Other sport fish include catfish, perch and striped bass. A Virginia or Maryland freshwater fishing license is required at all times.
The Visitor Center is located off the main road near the picnic area and is accessible by a paved walkway. It includes appreciation markers along with historical and environmental exhibits. In addition, it has a small gift shop. Here you can see historical artifacts such as Light Horse Harry's revolutionary uniform, Native American and Civil War artifacts. Additionally, the Visitor Center has graphical displays of the Lee plantation and taxidermy mounts of native animals and fish.
Canoe and kayak rentals available at the Breakwater Store at the marina.
The Breakwater Store offers convenience food and beverages along with general merchandise, including bait and tackle, and some boating supplies. It is located at the marina and boat launch area and includes a deck with umbrella tables.
The amphitheater is located off the main road near the Lee's Woods trail head and is accessible by terraced steps or a hard-packed rock dust trail. Contact the park for reservation and use information.
Whether you are a history lover or not Leesylvania State Park promises an interesting day!
Annette Bareford and Sarah Percival
Anniversary of the Potomac River Blockade 1861 September 21st from 10 a.m. – 4:00p.m and September 22nd from 10a.m. – 3:00p.m. at Leesylvania State Park.
Music at the Marina June 29th will knock your socks off!
Music at the Marina will be held June 29, 2013 at Leesylvania State Park beginning at 7:15p.m. and have some premiere music you won't want to miss!
Music at the Marina celebrates with fireworks at Leesylvania State Park!
Johanna Petrosky, Visitors Services Specialist
Celebrate an early 4th of July with the U.S. Navy Band, fireworks and festivities on June 29, 2013 at Leesylvania State Park.
Virginia State Parks “Rolls Out” Earth Week Events
Join us in celebrating Earth Week with programs and volunteer opportunities in all 35 our Virginia State Parks from April 16-22, 2013.
VirginiaOutdoors.com is sponsored in part by a generous grant from Dominion, a Fortune 200 energy company headquartered in Richmond. Click here to learn more about their volunteers and community commitment.