Bicyclists may use all paved roadways within the park and should follow the same laws and regulations that apply to the safe operation of motor vehicles as required in local and state laws. In order to conform to state laws, bicycles should travel in single file and stay on the right side of the road. Bicyclists should be aware that these roads have vehicular traffic and practice good defensive cycling techniques. Regulations prohibit bicycling on the actual Yorktown Battlefield or Historic Jamestowne sites.
The Colonial Parkway, a 23-mile scenic three-lane highway, connects Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne. (These three sites are known as the Historic Triangle.) The Parkway starts at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center parking, heads west following the York River to Williamsburg, turns south to follow the James River, and ends up in the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center parking lot.
The National Park Service maintains and patrols the Parkway. Pull-offs of historical significance along the Parkway provides scenic views and historical information. In keeping with the natural beauty and the Colonial atmosphere of the route, the three-line roadway is not marked with white or yellow dividing lines. Composed of a cobble aggregate pavement, the highway simulates an early Colonial Virginia roadway and can present a rough, bumpy ride for bicyclists. The center lane of this three-lane roadway is for passing only; signs indicate no passing zones.
The Parkway has a tunnel under part of Colonial Williamsburg and regulations prohibit pedestrians or bicycles in the tunnel for safety reasons. To access the bicycle tunnel bypass from Yorktown, take the exit after the Parkway passes under Lafayette Street. At the "T" turn right onto England Street. Turn left onto Lafayette Street. Follow Lafayette Street to Henry Street and turn left again. Follow Henry Street until you reach Newport Avenue. Turn left and follow the signs to Jamestown via the Colonial Parkway. Turn right onto the Parkway.
There are two tour roads in Yorktown, the seven-mile Battlefield Tour Road, marked by red arrows, and the nine-mile Encampment Tour Road, marked by yellow arrows.
The Battlefield Tour Road begins at the Visitor Center parking lot. Both routes utilize other park roads and heavily-traveled state highways. (The Encampment Tour road has less traffic.) Motor vehicles may use all streets in Yorktown, except Main Street. Main Street closes to vehicular traffic Spring through Fall. On the Tobacco Road footbridge, bicyclists must dismount and walk across for safety reasons. Pick up maps of the tour roads and town from the Battlefield Visitor Center.
Did You Know?
In 1604, disgusted with his subject’s use of tobacco, King James wrote a scathing commentary entitled A Counterblast to Tobacco. He considered tobacco “hatefull to the nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the lungs.” Yet this golden leaf became the cash crop saving Jamestown from oblivion.