Chilton Woods State Forest

Chilton Woods State Forest is the first State Forest located on the Northern Neck of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In July of 2000, Mrs. Catherine B. Chilton conveyed the 397-acre tract, known as Chilton Woods, to the Virginia Department of Forestry. Chilton Woods State Forest became the 15th State Forest under the stewardship of the VDOF. It is located in Lancaster County. On Virginia Highway 3, travel east from Warsaw approximately 15-20 miles. After entering Lancaster County, turn left onto Rt. 602 (Field Trial Road) and follow for approximately 1-2 miles. Pass the sign for Chilton Woods State Forest on your right, under the power line right-of-way, and drive into the gravel parking lot on the right.

The property is entirely in forestland of various aged loblolly pine stands, which were nurtured and maintained by the Chilton family for many decades. The VDOF assisted Mr. and Mrs. Chilton when they took possession of the property in 1954. The Chilton family managed Chilton Woods State Forest under the guidance of professional foresters, involving both the VDOF and private consultants. William “Ran” Chilton, who was a heating oil and fuel dealer and president of the Bank of Lancaster, did not cut any timber until it was fully mature and then was quick to reforest the land in pines. But, as much as Mr. Chilton managed the woods for income, he was also drawn by the beauty of the land and its wildlife.

Mr. Chilton died in 1973. His will left the forest to his wife in a lifetime trust with the provision that it be transferred at her death to the state and managed for timber and wildlife. Mrs. Chilton thought better of this and deeded the tract of Lancaster County land to the state to ensure her late husband’s wish was fulfilled for the Virginia Department of Forestry to receive it.

Streams in the woods drain into Lancaster Creek and Corrotoman River, both tributaries of the Rappahannock River. The Rappahannock empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

By integrating best management practices on this land, we're ensuring that this forest is helping keep the Chesapeake Bay alive and productive.

Use Permit | Parking/Hours | Recreation | Map | Regulations

Forest Features

  • Hunting: Archery and Black Powder only
  • Lat-Long: 37° 49’ 25.3”, 76° 32’ 7”
  • Primary Use: bird watching, demonstration of timber-growing techniques and conservation practices to protect wildlife habitats and streams during logging.
  • Forest tree types: The forest is primarily a loblolly pine plantation with some areas of mixed pine and hardwood, including southern red oak, white oak, black oak, tulip poplar, sweet gum, and red maple.
  • Flora: A rare wildflower, the showy orchis, is a unique feature of the forest. Pink lady slippers are also common and best seen in the first week of May.

State Forest Use Permit

A State Forest Use Permit may be required for visitors to the state forests.

Parking/Hours of Operation

  • Open daily from dawn to dusk.
  • A small parking area can hold about five cars. No trails exist on the forest.
  • Email the forest personnel.

Recreation Opportunities

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

Motorized vehicles of any type are prohibited on all of the state forests.


Camping is not allowed.

Horseback Riding

Horses are permitted on the forest.

Coggins Test Certificates must be available for each horse on State lands.

We recommend that equestrians dismount and lead their horse over bridges and across streams.


Hunting, using archery and/or black powder only, is permitted on the Chilton Woods State Forest. All persons, except those legally exempt under Virginia law, must carry a valid Virginia hunting license AND a State Forest Use Permit to hunt or trap on the forest.

State Forest hunting regulations and seasons follow those of the county in which the State Forest is located. Check the Virginia Department Of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information for special restrictions on State Forest lands, such as Either-Sex Deer Hunting Days.

Wear blaze orange during hunting season.

Map and Directions

Forest Map

State Forest Regulations

To ensure your safety, read our complete state forest regulations before visiting a forest.

  • No removal of any tree, plant or mineral.
  • Remove all trash.
  • Motorized vehicles of any type are prohibited
  • No camping or public display of alcohol.
  • No fireworks, campfires or open air fires of any type.
  • Lawful firearms are permitted.
  • Hunting is permitted with a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting license in accordance with state hunting regulations.
  • Fishing in designated areas only in accordance with state fishing regulations.
  • Gasoline motorized boats are not permitted.
  • Vehicular traffic on established roads only; not permitted on gated roads.

Last modified: Tuesday, 31-Mar-2015 10:10:48 EDT