Scott's Run Nature Preserve, McLean

4.5
#1 of 8 in Wildlife in Fairfax County
Scott's Run Nature Preserve is a nature preserve in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Located in McLean, it is bordered by Virginia State Route 193 to its south, Interstate 495 to its east and the Potomac River to its north. It encompasses 336acre of woodland with its namesake, Scott's Run, flowing through its west side. Scott's Run originates in nearby Tysons Corner and enters the Potomac on the northwest side of the preserve. The preserve is noted for including eastern hemlocks among its plant life, which are rare for the area. It is a popular destination for recreation and hiking and is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Before the property was owned by Fairfax County, it belonged Edward B. Burling, a co-founder of the Covington & Burling law firm. During the 1920s Burling purchased the land for $200 an acre and built a cabin on the north side. He used the property for relaxation and informal business meetings.
After Burling's death in October 1966, his descendants sold the property to Miller & Smith Associates (MSA) to avoid its tax burdens. MSA planned to build 309 luxury homes on what was known as the "Burling Tract". Plans also included leaving 52 percent of the land relatively untouched. When Elizabeth Miles Cooke, who lived next to the tract, noticed it was slated for development, she help organize an opposition. After a lengthy debate between citizens, the Virginia Governor, several U.S. senators, developers, and local organizations, voters opted to raise their taxes in a referendum on 14 July 1970. The measure would secure $1.5 million in order to help purchase the land. An additional $1.5 million in funding was provided by the Department of the Interior and $0.6 million from state and local governments. On 5 September 1970 the tract was officially purchased by Fairfax County for $3.6 million.
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Scott's Run Nature Preserve Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
82 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Scott's Run Nature Preserve is a haven for those who are no big time hikers, joggers or adventure seekers. It is more for a casual, relaxed walk amidst nature.  more »
  • Fun, easy hike with several short climbs. Not crowded at all on a Thursday. Families, couples, people with dogs all seemed to be enjoying the trails.  more »
Google
  • This place is such a peaceful nature preserve to walk, hike, or just hangout by the water. It is pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your four-legged friend with you as well. There are a few trails in this park - some which loop around (maybe a mile round trip), and some that are more ... intense (could take a few hours). My first time there, I was not paying attention and ended up going on what I believe was the blue trail; that wasn't a bad thing, it just ended up being a longer hike than I normally planned. If you do the quick trip to the waterfall and back, you're not really taking too much time at all. The hike isn't too bad - there is a bit of a climb to go to the waterfall, but it's well worth it. There, you can just hangout and relax if you want (it's often frequented by people that just want to sunbathe there as well). As always, and this goes without saying, make sure to stay hydrated on the trail, especially if you get lost - you want to make sure to be prepared for anything. In any case, the short trail is definitely kid friendly and family friendly (and again, pets welcome!)
  • We picked a very popular weekend. Got there early enough to find parking, but just barely. Good elevation change, some steep hills. Multiple trails and ways back. Fairly well marked, we did get off trail without realizing it and stayed on the shore too long. But were able to find a cut through without turning back. Apparently we aren't the only ones. Waterfall had swimmers, a little tough to figure out how to get over to it and no good pics with the photo bombers. Would like to come back during the week see if traffic is less.

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