November 2014: Beaverdam Park

Gloucester, Virginia

Mordecai Cooke was the earliest English settler of this land, patenting this part of Gloucester in 1652. His descendants established several large estates in the area, including Wareham that includes much of the park property today. The Beaverdam Reservoir is of recent vintage - in 1990 a newly built earthen dam flooded the open fields and woodlands of Beaverdam Swamp to a depth of 25 feet to stabilize the Gloucester water supply. The 665-acre park surrounds the many tentacled lake.  

Given just a slender band of land along the lakeshore park officials have succeeded in creating one of the Tidewater’s best trail systems. The main multi-use trail stretches 9.5 miles from the main park around the northern edge of the reservoir to Fahy’s Road and is used as a stem for a string of loop trails. If you have a car shuttle that journey through thick hardwoods makes for a solid day’s outing with your dog but otherwise you have a score of options to craft your canine hiking day. The multi-use trail is hard-packed and stony; the various spur trails are reserved for hikers and more paw-friendly. The two bridges on the route are often used as turn-around points by trail-users; Morgan’s Bridge from the main park is a three-mile round-trip and canine adventurers seeking a bigger outing can find a six-mile round trip on the loops at the Route 606 trailhead. For a relaxing inroduction to Beaverdam Park’s splendors pick up an interpretive brochure and follow the Lake’s Edge Trail from the ranger station at the main entrance.  

Film buffs may already recognize Beaverdam Park from the action thriller “Minority Report.” The waterside home of Tom Cruise’s estranged wife is on Ware Point Road, near Beulah, Gloucester. After escaping via a car production line, Cruise drives the red Lexus through Beaverdam Park.

From Route 17 turn onto 17 Business into town (Main Street). Turn onto Roaring Springs Raod and follow to the main park at end. For Fahy’s Road (Route 606) trailhead, stay on Route 17, turning onto Fahy’s Road and continuing three miles.