Seneca Regional Park is one of my favorite hiking spots in Fairfax County. You will find folks riding horses, mountain biking or hiking through the park. There are multiple signs throughout the park teaching patrons about the history of the park. The remaining portion of George Washington’s Potowmack Canal is also part of the parks history and can be found on the signs in the park.
Seneca Regional Park is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. They have a great map of the trials including the Potomac Heritage Trail that runs along the Potomac River. The terrain ranges from small to medium hills with gravel and dirt trails. Parts of the trail along the Potomac can get muddy if it’s been raining. The Potomac Heritage Trail can be used to head to Algonkian Regional Park and Riverbend Park. On the day of the photos we had a few days of rain so the Potomac River inlets were pretty high. There are some great places along the river for the kids to see the river safely. Strollers would be a no go for this park but a backpack for the kids would be perfect. No restrooms at this park though.
Get out and enjoy a beautiful park just outside your doorstep!
Over the summer we went hiking in one of my favorite spots in Mclean, Difficult Run Stream Valley Park. Along Georgetown Pike not far from Great Falls National Park you’ll find a small parking lot. This parking lot is used for the Difficult Run Stream Valley Park. The Difficult Run Trail is part of the Cross County Trail and the last section that leads across Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.
The trail heads along Difficult Run and has plenty of smaller trails that you walk along. The main Difficult Run Trail runs along the water way and is a large trail that would be rough with a jogging stroller so a backpack or little legs are the best way to get along. The views depending on the water level are very pretty. The day we went the water level was low and you could see lots of rocks.
The day we went we walked along the Difficult Run Trail which leads you under Georgetown Pike and into the Great Falls Park if you take the right trails. We headed along the Ridge Trail to the Old Carriage Trail. The best part of all this hiking is the signage and maps along the way. On the Ridge Trail you can find Equestrian turn outs where you can pen up your horses for a break. While we were hiking we passed several park rangers on bike and foot. If you are a geocacher there were plenty of caches to find along the way.
This hiking spot is great for a casual stroll and or a rigorous workout. There were plenty of folks running and biking through the trails. Check it out when the weather is nice!
One of my favorite parks is in Fairfax County, Great Falls National Park in Great Falls, VA! The Potomac River runs over the steep rocks creating the falls. The falls can be seen from both VA or MD side of the Potomac River. My family loves to go and check out the falls at one of three overlooks and hike the trails near the river. The park has lots of history and tablets are all over the park showing the vistors why the park remains an attraction.
If you like being outside close to nature this is the park for you. The park has over 15 miles of trail with 5 of the miles of trail that can be used for horseback riding and bikes. If you head upstream the trail leads to the Riverbend Park trail system. The trails around the Visitor Center, picnic area and overlooks can accomodate strollers and wagons. The hiking trails near the river can be rocky and narrow so if you’re taking the little ones just make sure you keep them close.
In addition to the hiking trails, avid kayakers and rock climbers can use the park. There are a couple drop in areas for the kayakers and two areas for repelling over the river. If the outdoors is not where you like to be then check out the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has a small hands on area for the kids to check out what can be found in the park. The park also offers a Junior Ranger Program for children 5 years and up to learn about the park and earn badges. If you’re into history, the majority of the Visitor Center has many interactive exhibits showing the history of the area and conservation efforts to keep the park healthy.
My family and I enjoy taking all our out of town guests to this park for a picnic and hiking. There are restrooms in the Visitor Center and various places around the park. It’s a beautiful park year round and if you live in Northern Virginia you should check it out!
Riverbend Park in Great Falls, VA located in Fairfax County lies just above Great Falls National Park. In fact you can walk from Riverbend Park all the way to Great Falls National Park via the Potomac National Heritage Trail along the Potomac River. Unlike Great Falls where you pay a park fee Riverbend is a free regional park and open from dawn till dusk with gates closing promptly at 8:30 p.m. Riverbend Park is located off of Georgetown Pike in Great Falls, Virginia. You follow Riverbend Road through magnificent neighborhoods filled with custom Estate homes and single family homes on large wooded lots. Regional Park signs will navigate you towards the park.
The Nature Center is a neat place for the kids to see local wildlife like snakes, skinks and frogs. For the adults and older kids there is historical information about the people that once inhabited the area before the settlers took over. The Nature Center has a small snack bar, ice cream and gift shop. Outside the nature center they have an observation deck with Adirondack chairs and tables to sit and watch the river. Public restrooms and water fountains are available just outside the nature center. A small frog pond is located below the nature center and at this time of year it allows visitors to check out the newly hatched tadpoles that will eventually turned into frogs.
Once you have finished exploring the nature center you can head out on the trails. Riverbend park has 2.5 miles of Potomac Heritage Trail along the Potomac River which if you head south will take you directly into Great Falls Park. The trails are great for walkers/joggers but strollers and bikes would have a hard time getting through. More trails are available through the upland forests and a few are challenging. If you enjoy geo-caching this park has plenty hidden for you to find. A picnic area is also available right next to the river and offers grills to cook out. This upper portion of the Potomac River is a good place to drop in a kayak or canoe and a launching area is available.
The kids and I love this park! The trails offer plenty of shade and we always see lots of wildlife on our walks. Walking along the river is a great way to get away and is a very convienent location to Northern Virginian residents.
The past few days have been awesome! The weather gave us a nice break from the wicked winter temperatures. My boys couldn’t wait to get out and go to the local parks. One Fairfax County park that never lets us down is located just inside Great Falls Village, Great Falls Grange Park.
The park has a large piece of equipment for older kids along with a smaller set for the little ones. The park also has a merry-go-round, regular and toddler swings. This park has plenty of shade and benches to bring a picnic lunch. It also has a baseball field and plenty of room for soccer. Normally during the spring through summer months a porta potty is available and you can also walk next door to the library. During the weekends, the historic Grange building can be rented out for wedding receptions and banquets. If you’re a history buff check out this link to their site, Great Falls Grange.