The York River is a navigable estuary, approximately 34 miles (55 km) long,in eastern Virginia in the United States. It ranges in width from 1 mile (1.6 km) at its head to 2.5 miles (4.0 km) near its mouth on the west side of Chesapeake Bay. Its watershed drains an area including portions of 17 counties of the coastal plain of Virginia north and east of Richmond.Its banks were inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. In 2003 evidence was found of the likely site of Werowocomoco, one of two capitals used by the paramount chief Powhatan before 1609.
The York River is formed at West Point, approximately 35 miles (56 km) east of Richmond, by the confluence of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers. It drains into the Chesapeake Bay towards the southeast, entering the bay approximately 5 miles (8 km) east of Yorktown, which sits along its southern shore. U.S. Highway 17 crosses the estuary from Yorktown to Gloucester Point on the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge.
The only vehicular crossing of the York River is the George P. Coleman Bridge, a swing-type drawbridge which carries U.S. Highway 17 between Yorktown and Gloucester Point. The toll bridge, which was rebuilt and expanded in the mid 1990s, collects a $2 toll fee for automobile traffic which is northbound only. The bridge has been one of the sites of a special program to establish and encourage nesting locations for the peregrine falcon population of Virginia.