Yes, it is open again! The Taskinas Creek Trail at York River State Park was renown as one of the best hikes east of I-95. Due to storm damage, it was closed to the public for two years. Park staff and volunteers worked hard to re-route and restore the trail. Despite some significant changes, Taskinas Creek is a hike that is winning praise in the region for it’s physical challenge, views of wildlife, and unique beauty.
The long bridges across the freshwater streams at the beginning of the trail are gone. Yet, hiking along the smaller crossings still provides guest with an idea of how estuarine creeks and rivers begin as mere trickles of water at the bottom of a hill. As they flow, these streams get broader turning the surrounding lowland into bogs. A variety of frogs, turtles, and other creatures can be found here.
The freshwater bogs give way to an open canopy marsh and cord grass as hikers reach the first Marsh Overlook. The stream meets the larger Taskinas Creek at the Heron Overlook. This is a great place to spot both the Great Blue Heron and the smaller Green Heron. At low tide, Fiddler Crabs can be seen scurrying around for hiding places. High tides bring Muskrat and Killifish swimming right underneath the overlook.
After an elevation change, hikers are rewarded with the Osprey Overlook. An Osprey nesting platform stands between two bends in the creek. These expert anglers reside here from March until September to raise their young. This year, we have two chicks on the nest in the creek. The platform was installed by a local Boy Scout working on his Eagle Badge. An overlook named for our national bird can be found on a small spur trail before ascending on another hill. Bald Eagles can be seen at the park year round, perhaps more frequently when the Osprey are back in Latin America for the winter.
A challenging ravine follows lined with Mountain Laurels. In May, this is one of the most beautiful parts of the hike. Ascending to the final hill is the spur leading to the Kingfisher Overlook. Fans of the original trail will remember how the long bridge used to cross a section of the marsh. A portion of the bridge was removed due to constant erosion damage. But, a substantial section remains as an overlook that is perfect for wildlife viewing, photography, and waving to the canoeist and kayakers as they explore the creek. Returning from the spur, the final leg of the hike is relatively broad with only slight elevation changes until completing the loop to the first two ravines.
As unbiased as I can be, this is the best hiking trail on the peninsula. I doubt if there is anything quite like it along the Chesapeake Bay. The elevation changes will impress the most avid outdoors adventurers. Birders and photographers can enjoy the diversity of nature’s beauty. Environmental educators will find it a great learning lab for geology as well as ecology. Make plans to visit the Taskinas Creek Trail at York River State Park. Parking at the park is only $2 per vehicle on weekdays, $3 on weekends. Visit the Virginia State Parks blog for stories about the trail and other items of interest at York River and around the state.