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Scott's Run Nature Preserve, McLean
(4.6/5 based on 55 reviews on the web)
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 its plant life to include hemlocks, 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Easy but steep. Took our 4yo and he was dragging his rear on the way back up. No one was there and it was wonderful. We enjoyed taking photos of the area and having it all to ourselves. 
  • The smell along the trail was awful--sewage. Small waterfall. Lots of people in the water and on the rocks so it was hard to get any uncluttered pic. Easy wide path though. 
  • There are trails provided for hikers of all levels of fitness. Parking is very limited, so on weekends (especially during summer), remember to come early. At the bottom of the trail is a lovely waterf...  more »
Google
  • Was a nice enough walk, I guess. Parts of the trail run along a sewer line, so that's fun... and be sure if you go, you don't do the ORANGE trail. There is nothing on any of the signage to tell you about the trails, and orange looked like a good way to get from the ruins back to the run, so my kids could hop across the stepping stones again. Fifteen minutes in, I thought we were going to be lost in the woods--it's poorly marked and clearly not taken care of (large trees have fallen over parts of it, obscuring it). But then you get to the end. Holy cow. It's basically a ravine you have to try to scuttle down without killing yourself. Maybe if we had hiking sticks or I wasn't with 2 kids that would be ok, but it's definitely NOT a beginners trail at all.
  • Great convenient place to "take a hike" within the DC metropolitan area. If you take some of the smaller paths that criss cross the park it can feel like you have the whole place to yourself. Otherwise, it can be very crowded.
  • Very charm place if you enjoy it to walking and some difficult area . Good exercise.
  • The waterfall is pretty but crowded. If you stay away from that part of the park, nice trails. A bit steep in parts. Nice views.
  • Great hiking and the waterfall area is very nice however there is a big problem with illegal activity in this park such as drinking, swimming, drugs, etc. The police have been stepping up patrols in the area but people still use the waterfall area as a swimming hole which is illegal and very dangerous.