Scotts Run Nature Preserve

If you love nature, consider spending an afternoon hiking or biking through the stunning McLean area.

July 27, 2022

If you love nature, consider spending an afternoon hiking or biking through the stunning McLean area. The Scotts Run Nature Preserve is part of the Potomac Gorge, one of the rarest ecosystems in the mid-Atlantic region. It is located at 7400 VA-193, McLean, VA 22102. The preserve includes floodplains, rocky cliffs, and narrow valleys. The park features more than 200 acres of trails, as well as educational programs focusing on the natural history of the Potomac Gorge.

The preserve was created after the owner died in 1966. The late Edward B. Burling Sr., a co-founder of a prominent law firm in Washington DC, enjoyed the quiet solitude of his cabin and its convenience as a meeting place for power brokers in the city. However, he refused to install telephone lines or cut trees. The result was a lush, natural landscape with unique plant combinations and a history dating back to the 1800s.

You can access the preserve via two separate entrances. The parking lot is at the north end of the preserve. Both trails lead to the Potomac Heritage Trail. A connector trail called the Oak Trail leads to a smaller parking lot where you can begin your hike. Once you reach the end of the Oak Trail, you can take the Parking Lot Connector Trail back to your car. Alternatively, you can hike around the interior of the Preserve. The trails here are very well maintained and offer wonderful views of the surrounding area.

The nature preserve includes several water features. The river, which originates in the hills, descends into the river. The stream carries polluted water from nearby suburbs and urban centers. Although you can walk on the river to admire the waterfalls and stream, it is not recommended to take a bath, as the water is polluted and unsafe for swimming. Several trails in the park lead away from the river and offer lovely views of the Potomac.

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The park is home to numerous varieties of wildflowers, including a variety of hybrid azaleas and relaxing New York ferns. The park is also home to the Mariner's Museum and Park, which features a fascinating maritime exhibit. Whether you're a history buff or simply enjoy the outdoors, the Scotts Run Nature Preserve is an ideal destination for hiking, biking, and nature-lovers alike.

The Potomac Heritage Trail starts from the main parking lot and continues east along the Potomac River. The trail is well marked, and there are numerous maps and directions available. You can also download the Hiking Project app to help you navigate the nature preserve. If you get lost, be sure to use the maps provided by the Fairfax County Park Authority so you can easily find your way back. Once you reach the parking lot, you can head back to the main trail.

There are many ways to explore the nature preserve in McLean. The historic site of Luray Caverns is also worth a visit. This historic site is full of historical artifacts and art. Attractive ruins and other buildings are scattered throughout the preserve, giving visitors the chance to enjoy the beauty of nature. You can also learn about local history and culture at the Museum of Virginia.

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