Chilton Woods State Forest


Chilton Woods is a 397-acre state forest in Lancaster County. Management focuses on demonstration of sustainable forest management practices, timber production, passive recreation, wildlife habitat, water quality, research, and plant and animal biodiversity. Its high timber quality results from a long history of forest management activities by the Chilton family. The land has gentle terrain and varied flora under forests of mostly loblolly pine and pine-hardwood mix. A small stream known as Balls Branch borders part of the forest, and a few of its tributaries extend into the property. The Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists have adopted Chilton Woods and maintain a number of trails on the forest.

×To ensure your safety and enjoyment, please read Before You Visit when planning your trip to a state forest.

At a Glance

Access Status: Open to the Public
Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk

Physical Address:
37° 49’ 25.3”, 76° 32’ 7”

Parking/Access: Access via small parking area under transmission lines, along Field Trial Road

Restroom Facilities: None

Visitors are asked to adopt a “leave-no-trace” ethic when visiting the forest, as there are no restrooms or trash cans on the forest itself. ​ ​

Other Facilities: None
Seasonal Closures: None

VDOF recommends that all forest visitors wear blaze orange or pink during hunting seasons.

Forest History

Chilton Woods became a state forest in 2000. William “Ran” Chilton acquired the property in 1952. He managed the property very carefully using the services from the Virginia Department of Forestry and private forestry consultants, never harvesting any timber until it was fully mature and quickly reforesting the land in loblolly pine. But, as much as Mr. Chilton managed the woods for income, he was also drawn by the beauty of the land and its wildlife. When Mr. Chilton died in 1973, he willed the property to his wife, Catherine Barham Chilton, in a lifetime trust with the provision that it be transferred, at her death, to the state. On June 21, 2000, Mrs. Chilton, still living, decided to release her interest in the property in consideration of her late husband’s wishes and deeded the property to the Virginia Department of Forestry. This gift from the Chilton family became the 15th state forest property and the only one in the Northern Neck region of the state.

Forest Management

Forest management on Chilton Woods State Forest focuses on the demonstration of scientific forest management, applied forest research, development of diverse wildlife habitat, watershed protection, diverse timber stands that support biological diversity, and passive outdoor recreation. Chilton Woods differs from many other small state forests due to the intensity of past forest management activities accomplished by the Chilton family and, at least in part, driven by the Virginia Department of Forestry. A large portion (98%) of the forestland at Chilton Woods has been regenerated to pine and pine-hardwood forest types. In addition, 74% of these stands are greater than 30 years old. The site has potential for excellent hardwood growth as well as unique “cove hardwood” sections sheltering yellow-poplar.

Recreational Opportunities

Primary recreational uses of Chilton Woods State Forest include hiking, nature study, and wildlife watching.

Visitors are asked to adopt a “leave-no-trace” ethic when visiting the forest, as there are no restrooms or trash cans on the forest itself.

ATV/ORV use, camping, and swimming are prohibited on all State Forests.

A State Forest Use Permit* is required for individuals aged 16 and older to hunt, fish, trap, horseback ride, or mountain bike on state forest lands. The permit can be purchased online at or where hunting licenses are sold.

Trails and Roads

  • 2.5 miles of forest trails – no vehicles
  • 0.5 mile of gated forest roads – no vehicles


Hiking is permitted on forest roads.

Mountain Biking


Horseback Riding


Fishing and Boating


Hunting and Trapping

Archery and black powder hunting are permitted with a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting license in accordance with state regulations and Lancaster County firearms regulations. Note that some regulations may be different than on private land, so check Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Hunting Regulations for specific state forest details.

Other Recreational Opportunities

Other passive recreational opportunities, such as wildlife watching and nature photography, are available.

Educational Opportunities

Self-learning opportunities are available.

Contact Us

For more information or questions, e-mail us or use our contact form.

State Forest Main Office
Located at Cumberland State Forest
751 Oak Hill Road, Cumberland, VA 23040-2511
E-mail| (804) 492-4121

Local Contact
Dennis Gaston, Forester
11301 Pocahontas Trail, Providence Forge, VA 23140
Email | (804) 966-2201

Maps and Additional Resources
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