1192 Occoneechee Park Road,
Information: Occoneechee State Park is on Virginia’s
largest lake, Buggs Island Lake, also known as John H. Kerr Reservoir.
The park features 18.1 miles of trails that allow the guest to experience
the history of the Occoneechee Indians and plantation life in the 1800s.
The Commonwealth of Virginia began leasing the land for recreational
use from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1944.
From I-85, take Route 58 West Exit at South Hill. Park is located on Route
58 one mile east of Clarksville.
About 3.1 miles of walking trails wind through woodlands and past scenic
lake views. A one-mile interpretive trail takes visitors to the terraced
gardens of the Old Plantation grounds. The park also features a 15-mile
multi-purpose trail for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Time to Park from: Northern Virginia, three and a half hours;
Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, three hours; Roanoke,
two and half hours
From 1250 to 1670, the Occoneechee Indians lived on an island on the Roanoke
River near what is now Occoneechee State Park. In 1676, Virginia Councilman
Nathaniel Bacon led a group of men from Henrico County to destroy the
Occoneechees. Bacon’s attack succeeded only in slaughtering Indians
that were perhaps the friendliest to settlers in the Commonwealth. Neither
Governor Berkeley nor most Virginians approved of Bacon’s actions.
Nearly 200 years after the attack on the Indians, William Townes built
a plantation on this land by the water. A 20-room mansion with horse stables,
a smokehouse, servants’ quarters and beautiful terraced gardens were
built on his 3,100 acre plantation in 1839. In 1898 the mansion caught
fire and was destroyed. The landscaping of the garden can still be seen
in the park today.
For maps and more information: