Explore the most popular walking trails near McLean with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This was our first time hiking in this area, and we found it to be very enjoyable. The "moderate" tag is accurate. There are a variety of blazed trails and we veered off the intended trail but found our way back to the parking lot. The fallen leaves obscured the trails but the blazes on the trees helped a lot.

This trail was surprisingly fun with some decent incline and rock scrambles. Crowds are no joke but around the middle it was very thinned out (spent about 20 minutes just waiting to get to the gate of the park... then had to follow someone leaving in order to park). Annual passes to great falls are 30$ so might be worth it for people who plan on coming back a couple times. GORGEOUS fall colors.

Nice little loop with a section that has great river views. Went during the fall and most of the trail is wooded, so I really enjoyed the hike. Mostly flat, but some rocky hill sections near the river. Parking is limited during peak times.

hiking
11 days ago

Starts and ends well but kind of tough to find the markers in the middle! But gorgeous scenery and nice hike!

hiking
26 days ago

Look....Don’t underestimate the difficulty of this trail. Although it’s listed as moderate, there are many obstacles such as fallen trees, overgrown shrubbery, and huge boulders that will render this trail not for the faint of heart. I recommend not going right after it rained because the rocks were very slippery and there were lots of mud puddles. My friends and I and my dog had a wonderful time even though some of us fell in the creek and or mud. I would definitely go again.

Nice trail fits all purpose and all ages. Fatanstic view and many suprises if you like to explore.

walking
1 month ago

I don’t know why people are saying it’s five miles. My tracker from the car was 4.0 miles which includes the 3-4 min we walked slightly off the trail.
All in all pretty manageable but if you have a kid under like 6-7 the far end when you go under the freeway you may need to carry them.
Pros: easy access in the heart of DC area, mostly shaded, scenic.
Cons: Unless you have headphones on you spend half of it listening to the cars on the road and the airplanes taking off from DCA.

We went on a rainy Sunday and there were only a few people around. The river trail was the rockiest, and the other trails were mostly gravel. Not too much incline either, so they were pretty easy to hike.

$10 entrance fee but you can walk right up to the overlooks from the parking lot. It was a bit too crowded for my liking but beautiful views. The trail was pretty easy. Really cool experience if you have never been here before!

hiking
2 months ago

Nice dog friendly trails

hiking
2 months ago

Not bad for my first hike in Virginia. The trail is easy to find. Locals jog in the morning or take the dogs to play into the water. If you like going into the “woods” for a while and forget about the city without going too far away, this is a good one. Simple, easy to walk it. If you follow the Google maps line, you can easily find the entrance to the trail and follow it.

hiking
2 months ago

We took 3 kids, ages 9,6, and 4, and 2 dogs. The trail was fun but too long for the kids in the heat of August. It was 5 miles, not 3. A 3 mile trail would have been perfect, there were lots of downed trees which my kids like to climb over, river crossings and steep creek beds that we needed to use ropes to pull ourselves up. The dogs were able to scramble up ok but definitely fell a couple of times. We needed the GPS a few times when we lost the path. It’s well marked for the most part but definitely not each turn. We may do it again when the fall weather arrives;)

First, this is nowhere near three miles. We followed the route on the map exactly and it’s a full FIVE miles. So know what you’re in for.

This is a great hike if you’re looking for a moderate challenge with varying terrain.

I took a 4yo (girl), 10yo (girl), and 12yo (boy). I had to carry the 4yo at times. Several of the stream crossing are challenging. There are no bridges and so you have to hop/scramble across the rocks. One point requires ropes to descend and ascend a wide ditch. My 4yo piggybacked me for that part.

No way horses are doing this btw. Or mountain bikes. Lots of downed trees and rock hopping/scrambling.

The trail is also very poorly marked at portions. Without the gps and trail map, it would have been entirely unclear where to go.

In short, a fun, interesting, moderately challenging hike with a fair bit of variation that’s good for kids (if they’re up for five miles and you can carry little ones if/when needed).

Great views maintain trails marked areas a lot of historical points

loved the serenity at 7 AM and the views from the river trail. explored all trails a little. by 9AM it gets very busy and yet it's still peaceful. The 10 dollar entrance fee is a bit high but i am glad i visited.

hiking
2 months ago

A lot trees blocking the trials.

I loved this loop, there was the perfect mix of rock scrambles and easy trail hikes that I never got tired. Beautiful things to see and for going on a Sunday afternoon it really wasn't too crowded. Great hike!

it is more of a walk. when sunny, it is very crowded.

Love the rock scrambles. Easy enough for novice hikers that are relatively active, as well as our small dog. Started on the river trail which had the most of the scrambles, then to the ridge trail, then swamp. I think we were on the Difficult Run Trail as well at some point.

3 months ago

if the loop is done counter-clockwise, your journey is going to be more quiet. Just know as you approach the water at Stubblefield Falls the rock scramble is very steep. The Scotts Run Falls were smelly and loaded with trash. There were people drinking beer and some of them looked underage. Lots and lots of people swimming in spite of warning signs not to swim. one girl was naked! Pretty day as was quiet until I got to Scotts Run Falls. Trails were blazed according to the color coded map. An ok afternoon, could be better could be worse.

Great starter trail to get back in shape. We were under the forest canopy. Sign posted says no swimming yet it was ignored by a group of teenage girls. Quite a bit of trash washed up in the river.
Did see a Fairfax police on a motocross bike, glad to see him.
Lots of dogs that were NOT on their leash as mandated by law... explains the few dog poops we came across our hike.
the only trash can was at the parking lot.
Good thing was the map along the trails.

I loved the little creeks with carefully placed stones to hop across. Also, the paths are spacious. Although I was disappointed by the situation I found at the waterfall. “No swimming, wading, or bathing” is clearly marked in at least two locations; one at the base of the waterfall and another on the trail as you approach the waterfall. They are big and describe the consequences in smaller detail including possible arrest and a $250 fine! The scene was beautiful despite the insistence of a white trash summer (clothes and trash thrown everywhere along with half-naked teens and small children romping through it). I was mildly disgusted as I ventured out for a pleasant hike with hopes of seeing the waterfall here in all of its glory. What I found was a gorgeous backdrop to a bunch of unruly visitors unwilling to keep their clothes on. These are not beaches and should not be treated the same way. Come for the view not the more obvious guilty pleasure of a few that seem to come and go without regard to anyone else.

I enjoyed this trail, and definitely improved my stamina coming up the big incline from the waterfall. The heartbreaking part of this trail is all of the trash that people have left behind. Next time I go, I'll take a trash bag with me to clean up a bit.

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

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
4 months ago

Great trail with lots of shade. I’d rate it on the tougher side of moderate but, by no means hard. There are several spots where you need to cross shallow streams but, nothing crazy. We did this trail with my three kids (15,13 and 9) and dog and was a thumbs up for all. Also, there was very little people traffic at the time. Sunday of Father’s Day which I thought would be busy. Definitely worth a try.

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.

Fun 4.6 mile trail. The swamp and ridge part of trail has a lot of tree cover and stays cooler even during summer days. The river side of the trail is rugged and can get hot due to comparatively less tree cover.

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