Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

Quick Facts

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail


(410) 267-5720

Map Directions

Things To Do


Four hundred years ago Englishman John Smith and a small crew of adventurers set out in an open boat to explore the Chesapeake Bay. Between 1607 and 1609 Smith mapped and documented nearly 3,000 miles of the Bay and its rivers. Along the way they visited many thriving Native American communities and gathered information about this "fruitful and delightsome land." In December 2006 the U.S. Congress designated the routes of Smith's explorations of the Chesapeake as a national historic trail--the first national water trail.

Smith's map and writings influenced exploration and settlement of eastern North America for many generations, and they are a remarkable record of the native cultures and the natural environment of the 17th-century Chesapeake. The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail provides opportunities for you to experience and learn about the Chesapeake Bay through the routes and places associated with Smith's explorations.

By providing Chesapeake experiences in the context of Smith's 17th-century explorations, the trail will lead to greater awareness of the importance of the Bay and what is needed to restore and sustain this national treasure.

The trail was officially launched on May 12, 2007, as part of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia. Visit this trail website often for the latest information about the national historic trail.

Map of Capt John Smith Chesapeake Trail

Latitude, Longitude: 38.032900, -76.335500


Park Partners

Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail

The Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail is a regional environmental organization dedicated to conserving treasured landscapes in the Chesapeake Bay and advancing the goals of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and other national historic trails in the Chesapeake region.

Founded in 2005, the Friends' goals are to conserve Chesapeake landscapes, increase public access to the Bay, and develop stewardship for the Bay's natural and cultural resources. The Friends successfully led the effort to establish the John Smith Trail, America's first national water trail, and continues to facilitate the trail's implementation and development in close cooperation with the National Park Service. Recently, the Friends played an instrumental role in the preservation of more than 6,000 acres of land, including 25 miles of shoreline along the trail. The Friends is advancing NOAA's state-of-the-art buoy program to monitor the health of the Bay and to serve as markers for the trail. The Friends is a partnership of more than 180 state and local governments, citizen groups, and business partners--and thousands of people like you.

(443) 321-3610



You can not drive to Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. It is a water channel located Chesapeake Bay.

Phone Numbers


(410) 267-5720