Scott's Run Nature Preserve Trail

EASY 394 reviews

Scott's Run Nature Preserve Trail is a 2.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near McLean, Virginia that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
2.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
282 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

cross country skiing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

This hike features river views, a waterfall, wildflowers, and ruins. Visitors have flocked to Scott's Run for years to witness the spring wildflowers that grow there. Sources say that trail-ing arbutus, Virginia bluebells and trillium blooming on the steep hillsides create a small oasis of rare and fragile plants. Remarkable and rare species grow along the precipitous cliffs, in steep valleys and throughout the mature hardwood forest of very large oak and beech trees, ancient hemlock and wild cherry trees that stand as tall as the oaks. Scotts Run Nature Preserve consists of a rather hilly, wildflower-riddled tract of riverside woodlands scarcely 4 crow-miles northwest of Washington. For songbirds and other wildlife, it's a true sanctuary.

1 day ago

Some side trails are harder then others so beware ! But soo beautiful

2 days ago

Unfortunately the people that frequent this location have trashed the place. This trail has so much potential to be amazing and beautiful, but the smell of sewage, trash littering the creek, and young teenagers smoking, drinking, and taking up space at the waterfall is an unfortunate eye sore for those that want to enjoy nature. Luckily, someone called the authorities yesterday, and hopefully that’ll instigate some change. I will definitely go back next time, not for the joy of being there, but to clean up the mess left behind by ungrateful individuals.

hiking
7 days ago

Great short hike. On a beautiful summer Sunday morning, it was easy to park at the trailhead at 8:00am. When I returned at 9:30, there was a queue for parking. The hike is mostly flat with a little elevation closer to the river. As others pointed out, it is a shame there is trash left behind from others at the falls. I preferred stubblefield falls overlook to sit down and enjoy food and reading. The ability to move in and out of different trails is a nice option. Definitely recommend for a short and easy hike.

hiking
10 days ago

Easy hikes and lots of dogs. This is a busy place so get there early. Some river access for the dogs but be careful of the currents. Ticks are seen in the summer so remember to check you and your pets. I use this location for quick hike when I don’t want to drive far.

21 days ago

Nice quick hike, but difficult to find parking and he waterfall area had a lot of trash.

hiking
1 month ago

Lots of fun with my friend Nicole!

Excellent park to walk around, but there are plenty of bottles and plastics dirtying the place.

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of my favorite trails because of all the little mini side trails throughout the loop. Dog friendly, family friendly, and once you get near the water it provides some fantastic views. Every time i go I just sort of pick and choose the trails as I pass them and it makes it seem like you've gone on a new hike each time. The only thing bad I can say about this hike is the area by the waterfall is very dirty and constantly has trash and broken glass. Also a bit smelly.

2 months ago

It’s a nice trail but dear lord does it smell like sewage.

hiking
3 months ago

Quick morning hike with great views. Easy for everyone. One or two spots are tricky due to down trees, and eroded trail.

4 months ago

Offers relative serenity and beauty a stones throw from DC. It doesn’t quite live up to nearby Great Falls, but is a worthy alternative.

hiking
4 months ago

sweet place to hike..

hiking
5 months ago

Nice easy trail. But quite busy.

6 months ago

Love the views & walking along the frozen Potomac!

hiking
7 months ago

Lots of unmarked trail intersections. Very easy hike.

walking
7 months ago

Great place for dogs!

hiking
7 months ago

took our dogs. it was beautiful! kinda stinky but a fun trail.

8 months ago

Beautiful area with very well marked trails- there are even maps at each trail intersection. Great spot for a picnic lunch by the falls.

hiking
8 months ago

I only did a short hike, but it was good. The Scott Run Falls was nice and scenic. Came across one guy who had dog off leash, but it was okay.

hiking
9 months ago

People had dogs off leash, it smelled of dog poop and sewage. It gets better when you climb further up into the wooded areas. One trail takes you to a parking lot though. Not exciting.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

While many would consider this an easy trail, it is not for beginners. There are a lot of steep hills, lose rocks, and thin slippery paths. In the end I did thoroughly enjoy the views but felt a little mislead by the "easy" label.

9 months ago

Nice and close to DC! Right off of 495. We got there around 1030am and the first parking lot was full. It's super tiny. If you drive down a little ways on the right you'll reach the 2nd parking lot which had more spaces. Others reported lots of trash on the pathway but it wasn't too bad. When we first started the hike it smelled like sewer water but didn't last too long. We did the 2.5mile loop. It starts off pretty flat, turns rocky and then hilly. Lots of lose rocks. I know you can bring dogs but I'm not sure I'd bring mine since it was a good amount of time walking on rocks. Waterfall was pretty and quaint. We enjoyed climbing on the rocks in the river to get a better view. Once you past the waterfall, we were pretty much by ourselves on the trail. I'd definitely go back even though the way back up required a few breaks!!

hiking
10 months ago

Great Hike pay attention to signs is easy to end up on a different trail than you intended.

10 months ago

lovely waterfall

10 months ago

I really enjoyed the trail and the waterfalls. The trail was VERY busy when we went on a Sunday and we got the very last parking spot. If you want some serenity, you can follow a few side trails that are less trafficked. We also went on a Tuesday morning and it was much quieter so maybe try to hit it on a weekday if you're able! Unfortunately as others have mentioned, the trail was covered in trash. It's really disappointing that people have left it that way. There were clothes and shoes left behind, beer bottles, take out containers, and entire garbage bags full of trash. If you're able to, I really recommend bringing a bag with you to help clean up the trail. The trash really detracts from the view and it's obviously horrible for the environment. The trail also smells really bad in a few places from what is apparently sewage. Aside from the trash and the occasional smelliness, this trail was great and we will definitely be back (with trash bags!).

hiking
10 months ago

Trail was good until we go to the river then the trail had washed out so we couldn't make the loop. We had to backtrack uphill. Good exercise but still to see the waterfalls would've been the icing on this cake. Still good trail someone needs to reroute the trail near the water. Kind of dangerous on that side.

10 months ago

The kids love walking through the streams.

11 months ago

I found it to be an fun trail with a terrific payoff. The waterfall is beautiful. The only issue I have is the amount of trash around the waterfall. Today, when I visited, a cooler was on rocks on the right of the waterfall view. There were beer bottles and plastic water bottles everywhere. I was able to fill a trash bag (someone had left a few tied up on a sign) pretty quickly. I was shocked at the disrespect for such a wonderful place, but it didn't get in the way of enjoying the sounds and views of Scott's Run.

11 months ago

Fun and easy trail. Too many people on the weekends.

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