Outdoor Adventure and Nature Programs
Parks and Recreation offers a variety of outdoor adventure and nature programs for a diverse ages and skill levels including archery, a challenge course, hikes and backpacking, kayaking (flatwater and whitewater), nature programs, summer camps and more. View this season's programs (PDF); options available for private groups.
Public Water Recreation Access Web Application
View the Public Water Recreation Access web application to see park maps, driving directions, facility images, and more are at your fingertips, including on mobile devices. Recommended browser for web application is Chrome.
Status of James River Overflow
The Richmond Department of Public Utilities monitors and reports, in real time, pipe overflows along the James River on this interactive map.
- What is the minimum age to participate in Chesterfield Parks and Recreation Archery programs?
Archers must be 9 years old for Intro Classes and Star Shooters Youth Archery Club.
- Do I need my own equipment?
All archery equipment is provided for Intro classes, Beyond the Basic classes, Star Shooters Club, and Adult Social Shoot. Archers must provide their own equipment for JOAD and Adult Practice. Archers using the Rockwood Park public range will also need their own equipment. We do not rent out equipment for the public range.
- Does Chesterfield County have a public archery range?
Yes, Chesterfield County has a public range at Rockwood Park behind shelter 4. This range is first-come, first-served and archers must bring their own equipment. The instructional range at Rockwood Nature Center and the range located behind Chesterfield Technical Center at Hull Street Road are for Chesterfield County program use only and are not open to the public for general use.
- Where is the instructional range at Rockwood Park?
The instructional range is beside Rockwood Nature Center. Do not follow signs to the public range at Rockwood Park; follow signs for the Nature Center.
- My child took archery at a summer camp. Does that count as the prerequisite Intro for Star Shooters?
No. They would need to take either the Star Shooters New Archer Intro or take one of our Intro to Archery classes. The exception is if they were in Camp Red Tail Hawk and took archery with a trained Chesterfield County Archery Instructor. Other summer camps do not teach the same content that we teach during our Intro class.
- Does the Chesterfield County Intro to Archery Class count as the prerequisite for Star Shooters?
Yes, if the Intro class is taken within a year before the Star Shooters class for which you are registering.
- How does my child enroll in Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD)?
To be in JOAD, archers must have previously taken two sessions of Star Shooters and bring their own bow, arrows, and hip quiver.
- Are there any classes for adults?
Yes. We offer Adult Intro to Archery, 50 Plus Intro to Archery, Beyond the Basics, Adult Practice and Adult Social Shoot.
- Do you offer birthday parties or private group lessons?
Yes. Please contact Ashley Weatherford for more information.
- Do you offer private individual lessons?
- I need to cancel my registration for an archery class. How do I do so?
Please contact Ashley Weatherford. Department policy requires that requests for refunds must be made in writing three days prior to the start of the program.
The Chesterfield County Challenge course is a ropes course with a graduated series of events for individuals and groups that can:
- Boost confidence by emphasizing problem solving, team work and communication
- Foster positive attitudes, self-discovery and trust
- Present physical, psychological and social challenges
- Test and stretch personal limits
No prior skills, experience or knowledge is required to participate.
Our trained facilitators follow the principle of Challenge by Choice. Participants are encouraged to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and into their learning zone, but it will always be up to the participant to choose how far they go.
Currently the challenge course can meet the needs of a variety of groups such as:
- Birthday Parties
- Classroom retreats
- Management teams
- Family Reunions
- Scout troops
- Sports teams
- Staff training seminars
- Teacher training
Programs Options and Fees
We offer two program options, an action-packed half day or a full day with lunch break.
Fees are based on the number of people in the group and number of staff needed to run the group. As a Parks and Recreation program, we are committed to equal access regardless of budget. Let us custom design a program for you!
Games and Initiatives
- Designed to travel to you while still incorporating the important components of learning and development
- Enhance teamwork and problem-solving strategies
- Increase enthusiasm to participate, break the ice among members and stimulate creative thinking
- No higher than two-feet off the ground - can be outside or inside
- Build individual’s confidence and group skills at problem solving, communicating and trusting
- Elements are no more than several feet above the ground
High Individual Elements
- Requires a roped safety system (belay system) that allows an individual to work on self-esteem in a supportive group atmosphere
High Team Elements
- Belayed elements that require two or more individuals to complete
- Focus is on assisting your partner or teammates
Natural Events Calendar
- Deer start losing antlers
- Great blue herons check out nests
- Great horned owls and bald eagles start nesting
- Waterfowl feed in Aikens swamp and the tidal wetlands
- Bluebirds check out nesting cavities
- Buds on red maples start to swell
- Herons sit on nests
- Song sparrows and cardinals start their spring songs
- Spotted salamanders return to vernal pools
- Spring peepers and chorus frogs start calling
- Waterfowl still active in the swamp and wetlands
- Wood ducks check out nesting cavities
- Alders bear catkins
- Azure and cabbage moths start flight
- First wildflowers bloom such as bluets, mustards, Whitlow grass, chickweed, violets
- Green sprigs of cattails and arrow arum appear in the wetlands
- Osprey return to nests
- Pickerel frogs start calling
- Redbuds, spicebush and serviceberry bloom
- Some early neotropical migrants return (such as the yellow-throated warbler and green tree swallows)
- Swarms of midges appear
- Turtles start to bask on logs on warm days
- Waterfowl start migration north
- Zebra swallowtails, falcate orangetips and mourning cloaks flutter along the trails
- Big push of neotropical birds head south. Prothonotaries, gnatcatchers, yellow warblers arrive.
- Bullfrogs and green frogs calling
- Dogwood blooms
- More flowers bloom such as black locust, cross vine, garlic mustard, spring beauties, etc.
- Ruby-throated hummingbirds return
- Shad start migrating
- Turkeys begin nesting
- Beaver kits are born
- Blackberries and may apples bloom
- First bluebird brood are fledged
- Turtles move out of wetlands to lay eggs
- Vireos, tanagers, kingbirds and orioles return
- Fawns are born
- Lizard tail starts to bloom in wetlands
- Turkeys hatch
- American lotus bloom in the wetlands
- Black rat snake lay eggs
- Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant
- Dogwoods and sumacs are fruiting
- Monarch butterflies migrate
- Purple martins start migration south
- Squirrels start cutting nuts
- Winged sumac and black gum show first fall colors
- Blue-winged teal migrations start
- Bucks start to rub off velvet
- Fall mushrooms appear
- Hummingbirds migrate south
- Night migration of songbirds
- White-throated sparrow and juncos start arriving
- Beavers rebuild lodges and food caches
- Fall colors peak
- Blackbirds start to flock
- Waterfowl return to wetlands
- Waterfowl still arriving in wetlands
Orienteering is an activity where participants use a map and compass to locate control points or markers on an orienteering course. Orienteering courses can be in urban and natural settings, but more often in parks and forests. Courses can be temporary and used for just a day or weekend competitive event. Courses can be permanent, like the Rockwood and Robious Landing courses, and used year-round. For more information about orienteering, visit the Orienteering USA website.
Needed to Participate
To participate, you will need a compass, a map of the course and a cue sheet. The maps and cue sheets for each location; you'll need to supply your own compass.
The maps used for orienteering courses are topographic maps which show elevation. They contain a scale (such as 1:5,000), magnetic north lines, and legend which visually explains the symbols on the map. They also contain red circles with numbers that show the location of the control points. The red circle containing S/F denotes the start and finish of the course.
The cue sheet provides three columns of information about the control points. The first column indicates the control number which corresponds to the number on the orienteering map. The second column shows the alphanumerical code. This is the number/alphabet sequence you should find at the control point. The final column provides a description of the topography where the control point is located.
For example, on the Rockwood Park Beginner Orienteering Course, if you navigate to control point 2, the control point should be located on a knoll, and the alphanumerical code attached to the post should be B13.
Control points are green metal posts approximately 4-feet high mounted in the ground. The tops are orange and contain a unique alphanumerical code attached to the posts.
Chesterfield Orienteering Courses
Rockwood Park Beginner Orienteering Course
The beginner orienteering course at Rockwood Park contains eight control points situated in the forest. The course includes rolling terrain, streams, and an extensive trail system. Start the course in front of the Rockwood Nature Center which is denoted on the map by S/F (for start and finish). Parking is available by the nature center and nearby parking lots. You can locate the control points in any order. The course can be completed any time the park is open. To try it, print the orienteering map (PDF) and cue sheet (PDF). A compass, while useful for navigation, is not needed for this beginner course.
Robious Landing Park Beginner Orienteering Course
The beginner orienteering course at Robious Landing Park contains 10 control points and is situated along the floodplain with very little elevation change. The course is mostly in the forest and includes steams and extensive trail system. Start the course at the playground which is denoted on the map by S/F (for start and finish). Parking is available by the playground and nearby parking lots. The course can be completed any time the park is open. To try it, print the orienteering map (PDF) and cue sheet (PDF).
Chesterfield Parks and Recreation Department thank Tim Gilbert with the Central Virginia Orienteering Club for his guidance and assistance.
Outdoor Adventure Programs
Offering a premiere source of instruction for 35 years, our adventure programs provide safe and professional classes in everything from family backpacking trips to sea kayaking. View the Outdoor Adventure Programs guide (PDF).
- Family-based trip designed for beginners
- Focus on learning safe practices for future backpacking adventures
- Positive learning atmosphere
- Bicycle maintenance programs help beginners learn to diagnose issues at home for future biking adventures
- Bikes can be brought from home or rented
- Biking trips suitable for all levels of riders
- Flatwater, whitewater, and sea kayaking programs
- Focus on sports instruction to learn the necessary skills for future adventures in a safe environment
- Instructors are swift water rescue and American Canoe Association certified
- Offer private and group paddles
- Classroom-based instruction to cover the fundamentals of sailing
- Learn by experiencing
- Series program builds up to applying new skills out on the water
Additional Adventure Programs
- Bald Eagle tours
- Horseback riding
- Recreational tree climbing
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding
- Whitewater rafting