CALEDON STATE PARK
A designated National Natural Landmark, Caledon provides visitors the unique opportunity of viewing bald eagles in their natural habitat. Caledon and the surrounding areas are the summer home for one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles on the East Coast. As many as 60 eagles have been spotted on the bluffs overlooking the Potomac River in King George County. Preservation of the national bird's habitat is the primary focus of the natural area. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of Caledon by hiking and picnicking in a mature forest. Hiking trails in the eagle area are closed April through September to allow young birds undisturbed time to perfect their hunting and fishing skills. Limited tours of the eagle area are offered, however, mid-June through August by reservation only. Park guests can learn more about the natural history of Caledon and the American bald eagle by touring the visitor center.
Caledon Natural Area is located on what was the early colonial seat of the Alexander family. John and Philip Alexander founded the city of Alexandria and established Caledon Plantation in 1659. William A. Smoot inherited the property from the Alexander family in the mid 1800s. In 1974, Caledon was donated to the Commonwealth by Mrs. Ann Hopewell Smoot in memory of her late husband, Lewis E. Smoot, who passed away in 1962. After the importance of Caledon to the summering eagle population was noted in 1981, Governor Charles S. Robb appointed the Caledon Task Force to develop the area's management plan. The task force was successful in creating a no-boating zone off the shores of the Potomac River at Caledon. Continued eagle research, development of nature trails and limiting public access in eagle-sensitive areas and buffer zones were among the other recommendations of the plan.
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Managed reservation hunt held annually in November. Muzzleloading only; must qualify to participate and must bring proof of hunter safety course.
Caledon State Park is located near Dumfries, Fredericksburg and Indian Head
The park's picnic shelter can be rented 8 a.m. - close (all day). The shelter accommodates 40 comfortably, is handicap accessible and is about 75 feet from the parking area. The shelter has tables, a grill, and the visitor center's restroom is nearby. Call 1-800-933-PARK (in Richmond, 225-3867) to reserve.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
Five hiking trails in the natural area are open year-round and take park visitors through environmentally sensitive marshlands and picturesque wooded areas of the park. The 3.5 mile Boyd's Hole Trail leading to the Potomac River is the most popular of the trails. Because human traffic disturbs the park's summer population of roosting and foraging eagles, this trail is only open from Oct. 1 through March 31.
Eagle tours, Junior Rangers night hikes, conducted walks, astronomy, storytelling, bonfire programs, birdwatching and crafts - some fees required. Click here for details on park events and interpretive offerings.