Hiking


"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir


The Potomac River Refuge Complex offers extensive walking and hiking trails, each with perks at different times of the year.


Occoquan Bay NWR 
Trail map from U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Occoquan Bay NWR is a wonderful excursion for anyone looking for relatively flat trails and wide vistas of both meadows and the Potomac River. A network of 4 miles worth of gravel trails are wide, well marked, and are well connected to allow for circuit hikes. Benches are scattered throughout the refuge for those needing a rest, but are not available on all trails. 

The best seasons for hiking at Occoquan Bay are in the fall and spring when the temperatures are mild.  Winter is a wonderful time to walk the refuge, but winds from the Potomac River can be chilling.  Summer can be a difficult time for hiking on the refuge due to the open exposure to sun and good number of biting flies.

Note: Jogging is prohibited at Occoquan Bay.
To protect wildlife, this refuge does not allow pets, whether confined to your vehicle or on leash.  However, Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck NWR does allow leashed pets, as well as jogging.


Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck NWR
Trail map from U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck NWR has two separate entrances, both offering different vantage points of the Great Marsh. 

The Great Marsh Trail is 3/4 mile paved and accessible trail leading to an observation platform featuring a scope to allow easier viewing of wildlife in the marsh.  There are benches along the path for the occasional rest.

The Woodmarsh Trail is a 3 mile loop through a hardwood forest, at times offering various views of the Great Marsh.  Be sure to keep an eye out for a wooden pavilion overlooking the Great Marsh. Near the furthest point on the trail, look for a kiosk featuring white-tailed deer, bald eagles, invasive plants, and wildlife that may be observed on the Woodmarsh Trail. Note:  portions of the trail are closed from December through June due to bald eagle nesting requirements.

Dogs on a 6' leash are allowed on this refuge.

 
 

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