Zoar State Forest

Zoar State Forest, at Aylett in King William County, is used to grow timber and agricultural crops, maintain habitat for various species of wildlife, and to provide educational and recreational opportunities. The 378-acre forest was donated to the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) in 1987.

All state forests are managed by the VDOF for multiple-use purposes, including watershed protection, recreation, timber production, fishing, and applied forest research. Learn how VDOF and other agencies are enabling quail habitats on the forest.

The state forests are self-supporting (no taxes are used to operate the system). In addition, one-fourth of all income is returned to King William County. Income is received from the sale of forest products.

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


This property, originally a part of the large estate of William Aylett, was purchased in 1782 by Robert Pollard. He built his home here and named it “Mt. Zoar.” The frame house, partially destroyed by fire in 1851, was rebuilt using brick by Robert Pollard, Jr.

From 1884-1885, the house and most of the handsome furniture it contained were totally destroyed by fire. The present house was built in 1890.

In 1987, the property was donated to the VDOF. The house, which is surrounded by several outbuildings, now contains the field offices for personnel assisting landowners in King William and King and Queen Counties. These personnel also maintain Zoar State Forest.

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.
  • Email the forest personnel.

Recreation Opportunities

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

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


  • A canoe ramp is provided on Herring Creek at the loop trail.
  • Canoe trips: Traveling approximately 4 miles down the Mattaponi River to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries boat landing at Aylett takes about 2.5 to 4 hours.
  • Information on outfitters will be provided on request.


  • Fishing is available in the Mattaponi River and Herring Creek.
  • A valid Virginia fishing license AND a valid State Forest Use Permit is required.


You can hike the existing forest roads on the main (southern) part of the forest or on the two nature trails.

Main forest roads - (2 miles) - Located on the larger (southern) portion of the forest - These forest roads feature wildlife and forest management practices, including creating edge, disk plots, various grass plantings, and pine and hardwood stand management.

  • Foot travel and non-motorized bikes are permitted.
  • A restroom is available (at the office, if it is open).

Nature Trail. (1.4 miles). This trail is divided into two loops: the Mattaponi Bluffs Loop and the Herring Creek Loop. Both are located on the northern portion of the property.

The Mattaponi Bluffs loop (1 mile; Trail Guide) meanders through upland and bottomland forests, crosses wetlands and offers gorgeous views of the Mattaponi River. The Mattaponi Bluffs loop will occasionally flood in late winter and early spring after periods of heavy rain.

The Herring Creek loop (0.4 mile; Trail Guide) offers views of Herring Creek and bottomland hardwoods while winding through upland hardwood forests.

  • Foot travel only.
  • No restroom facilities.
  • Both trails contain sets of steps.

Trail Rules

  • Be courteous to other trail users.
  • Bikers should yield to hikers.
  • Please help us keep the trail clean.
  • Stay on the marked trail at all times.


  • Hunting is prohibited on the Zoar State Forest.


  • Three picnic tables are available, located near the office.

Map and Directions

The office is only open when VDOF personnel are present.

Lat-Long: 37° 47’ 14.7”, 77° 6’ 33.8”

Download and print:

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

  • Zoar State Forest is open daily from dawn to dusk. Email the forest personnel.
  • Groups planning a trip to Zoar should call in advance to schedule their visit. VDOF personnel may be available to provide a guided tour. Expanded brochures for the nature trail are available on a loan basis.
  • Map and Directions
    View Larger Map
  • Zoar State Forest, 4445 Upshaw Road, Aylett, Virginia 23009, 804.769.2962

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 prohibited.
  • 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, 21-Feb-2017 08:46:25 EST