Eastern Branch Elizabeth River Trail
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description: The Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River flows from Virginia Beach through Norfolk before joining the main river and the Chesapeake Bay. This historic area combines natural wetlands and naval shipyards. The scenic Eastern Branch provides a glimpse of the environment as Captain John Smith would have seen it, with the river's forested shorelines and wetland areas. In the spring of 1608, Smith explored the Elizabeth River, finding little evidence of human inhabitants. Once home to the Chesapeake Group, archaeological resources are most likely lost due to the industrial development in the area.

Today, canoeists can paddle a short portion of the upper river by launching from Carolanne Farm Neigborhood Park, and following a mapped trail route.

Please note that boating, canoeing, kayaking and other activities on rivers can be dangerous. Obtain local information in advance, plan your trip, and follow all safety precautions. Check tide tables and avoid arriving and departing during low water.

Location / Directions: To access the current single launch site at Carolanne Farm Park:

From the Virginia Beach resort take Route 44 to Witchduck Road. At the stoplight at the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left onto Witchduck Road.

At the Princess Anne Road stoplight, turn right. Turn left onto Parliament Drive (the first stoplight after the Witchduck Road intersection). Continue about 2 blocks and turn right onto Challedon Drive. Pass Carolanne Farm Park #1 and continue for about a mile. Carolanne Farm Park #2 will be on the right.

Parking is available along the street. You will need to transport your canoe/kayak to the launch facility.

Mailing Address: Eastern Branch Elizabeth River Trail
Clay Bernick, Virginia Beach Department of Planning
Environmental Management Center
Municipal Center
2405 Courthouse Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Visitor Phone: (757) 427-4621
Activities: In addition to nature viewing along the canoe trail, there is a short nature trail adjacent to the canoe launch.

Birding and Wildlife Viewing Canoeing / Kayaking

Operating Hours: The launch site is open dawn to dusk.
Fees: No fees are charged for use of the launch site.
Length: 5 miles / 8 kilometers
Trail Map & Guide: An interpretive booklet guide is available for a short upper stretch of the water trail. Copies are available from Virginia Beach Department of Planning, or from the Central or Kempsville Area Libraries.

Safety Info: 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 Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, the National Park Service 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. [View a list of water safety tips]
River Classification: Class I. Read more about the different levels of River Classifications.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY