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Named after the Chickahominy Indian tribe who lived near the river when it was claimed by English colonists, the Chickahominy is an 87-mile-long (140 km) river and a Coastal Plain tributary to the James River in the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Virginia. The river rises about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Richmond and flows southeast and south to the James. Docile, narrow, and relatively easily crossed during dry weather, after periods of rain, it grows across a flood plain with swamps and lowlands it flows through for 40 miles (64 km) from Henrico County to eastern New Kent County. 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Providence Forge, it becomes an estuary and makes a turn towards to the south.
In modern times, the lower Chickahominy has become a major source of drinking water for the lower portion of the Virginia Peninsula and a popular recreational area for boating and sport fishing, featuring Walker's Dam and Chickahominy Lake. 140 acre Chickahominy Riverfront Park in Williamsburg on the water offers two outdoor swimming pools, a boat ramp, fishing pier, camp sites, a playground and picnic shelters.