Explore the Park: Great Shiplock Park & Chapel Island

Things to do Here

Bird Watching
Hiking & Walking
Scenic Views
Historic Site

Great Shiplock Park features the restored shiplock and working canal lock, part of the historic James River & Kanawha Canal. This canal served as transport hub for the tobacco warehouses along Dock Street and extended 197 miles west through Virginia’s mountain ranges. From these parks you’ll find unique and amazing views of downtown Richmond and amenities such as benches, shade structures, and bike racks. Great Shiplock Park underwent a $450,000 renovation, fundraised by the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, in 2013 as part of the Virginia Capital Trail construction.

Chapel Island was named for the early Episcopal chapel located there and active prior to the 1741 founding of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Church Hill. Here you’ll find places to fish in the tidal James for species such as shad, white perch, rockfish, smallmouth bass, herring, and several types of catfish. There is also a half-mile of winding, wide and flat single-track for hikers and bikers, an accessible boat ramp and a non-motorized boat launch. In addition, the central gravel path continues west along the island to the 14th Street boat take-out. The parkland also includes the former Trigg Shipyard, which was built in 1898 and went out of business in 1903.

Fast Facts

Park Partnerships

Capital Trees implemented the 2013 renovation and continues to maintain this area in partnership with the JRPS.

Unwanted Guests

Invasive plants crowd out many native species, and often hide historical artifacts on Chapel Island. Since 2014, numerous volunteer groups have worked to remove invasive plants and create habitats for native shrubs, trees and grasses.


Open from sunrise to sunset every day.

Report an Issue Form

To report an emergency please call 911 immediately. Please use this form to report an issue in the Park such as maintenance or trail issues. Thank you.

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