Scott's Run Nature Preserve, McLean

4.5
#4 of 7 in Things to do in McLean
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.HistoryBefore 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 4.5
68 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Great parking - two different access points. The most Western access has best parking and is trail head for main trail. Great trails. Accessible and stepping stone creek crossings. Gravel and dirt tra...  more »
  • Nice walks on wide paths in the woods. However, on nice weekends the parking lot can get full. Great place to take your dog. I don' t have a dog and Every time I go, I feel like I don't belong since I...  more »
  • This is a delightful nature preserve. I like it better than going to Great Falls National Park because it is easy to get in and out of the parking lot (which unfortunately is too small), and you don't...  more »
Google
  • This would be a wonderful park if not for the unbelievable amount of trash everywhere. Would be nice to climb on some of the big rocks and enjoy the view but they are covered in glass and unfinished food. They need to either put camping style trash cans out, send a clean up crew more often, or put up signs and post some temporary enforcement to get the point across.
  • This is one of my favorite free hikes. You get to criss stepping stones over moving streams, there is rich wildlife, and at the very end is a decent size waterfall that is magnificent. You can also see the Potomac river. Walking back up the hill from the waterfall gives a good workout as well. This place frequently gets crowded so it's best to go in the early morning.
  • Great place to hike and take your dogs for a walk. Big loop close to 3-4 miles but fairly easy trail and you get to splash and take a quick dip at the waterfall.
  • Waterfall was pretty easy to find and we found parking as well(we went on 4th of July) Quick & easy especially if you're not looking for a tricky hike. Even though it says no swimming alot of people do, the water isnt so clean & isn't very deep(good for people who can't swim) I would recommend to take some water sandals to walk in the water with or on the rocks near the waterfall, it hurts to be barefoot! Also something to sit on its not sandy place.
  • Great area to get away from the city. I imagine it gets very busy during the spring and early summer/early fall months, but during the winter months you can pretty much have the place to yourself. There are a few different trails that you can take and they all link together so that you can combine them if you really want to. There's plenty of fantastic hiking in the D.C. area within a reasonable drive, but if you don't have the time then this place will do.

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