Programs and Activities
Hours of Operation: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm
Hoffler Creek offers a variety of educational programming throughout the year highlighting many aspects of the preserve. Whatever your interest--identifying edible plants, getting comfortable in a kayak, learning about butterflies, bats and birds, quietly musing on the beauty of nature--you will find lifelong learning opportunities to enjoy here.
Our pavilion, nestled in a quiet woodland setting, can be rented for birthday parties and small gatherings.
Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve is operated as a “passive use facility” with an emphasis placed on preserving and protecting wildlife habitat. While certain higher impact activities are restricted, visitors are welcome to enjoy the beauty of Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve through many different uses:
- Hiking the trails that wind through the surrounding forest, vast lake and teeming salt marsh environments. Download our Trail Map as a .pdf or link to one of our trail guides for any of the specific trails below:
- Lake Ballard Trail — This wide, gentle trail takes you around Lake Ballard, the centerpiece of property, and includes the Lake Ballard Overlook, Memorial Bird Blind, Oyster Pier, Kayak Pier and Lab. This one-mile trail gives visitors an introduction to each ecological zone: forest, lake and marsh. The trail accommodates strollers and wheelchairs. (Occasional tree roots may offer challenges for each.)
- Bluebird Trail — Named for the bluebird boxes lining the trail, this short meadow trail leads to the Salt Marsh Overlook. The Bluebird Trail is accessible from the Lake Ballard Trail. Gravel underlayment makes this trail accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.
- Riparian Trail — Located between the Bluebird Trail and the Lake Ballard Trail, this trail provides a comfortable woodland walk with some subtle changes in elevation. A stop at the White Bird Blind, dedicated to Clark White, founding HCWF member and avid birder, allows for quiet observation of birds along the salt marsh.
- Homestead Trail — The longest of Hoffler Creek’s side trails, the Homestead Trail offers a stroll through the former site of the Ballard family home. An unusual mixture of forest and landscape flora gives this trail its own personality. The Willett Blind, named after a branch of the Ballard family, provides a quiet, secluded view of the marsh near the mouth of Hoffler Creek.
- Kids Trail — The kids trail is a short, kid-friendly path with ferns, vine tunnels and decaying logs for an exploratory forest adventure. A small amphitheater invites stopping to have a story or simply sitting to listen to the sounds of the forest.
- Seasonal kayaking on Hoffler Creek, a tributary of the historic James River. Kayak weight limits are 450 lbs. for tandem kayaks, 300 lbs. for single kayaks. CLICK HERE for rates and rules. Rent a kayak from us from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday or join us for one of our Summer Guided Tours. Kicking off May 21st, 2016 with a Blue Moon Paddle we've planned a summer full of Sunrise, Sunset or Full Moon Guided Paddles! Check our event page for information about specific paddles. We've also got great group programs. Contact us for more information about arranging a guided paddle for your group or group rates.
- Observing abundant wildlife such as deer, fox, raccoons, otters, and more that call Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve home. Self-guided and group walks offer excellent year-round birding opportunities highlighting myriad resident and migratory birds.
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