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Hiker Reviews for the BRCES Hike - 1 to 18 of 18   
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By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 18, 2016
The signage is good, directing you to two parking areas - one by the gardens and one a bit further down the road and down the hill across from the trailhead. The trails are well marked and maintained and it's easy to navigate, with not much elevation change. The ponds and historic cabins are a nice break in the scenery, and there's a few camping spots to take a break if you need. Overall, this wasn't a bad hike as you get the solitude and quiet, but I didn't feel a good vibe here. Perhaps it was the fresh chicken head placed at the trailhead (sad), or the burgundy sedan that sped me off the narrow road as I was leaving, or the fact that you can only hike between 10am-3pm on most days Oct-Nov due to hunting (BE SURE you follow this timeframe carefully), but I won't be returning. Ironically, I didn't see one deer or any other wildlife the entire time I was out here, and I hiked most of it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 02, 2016
Very pleasant and secluded hike. Not challenging at all but nice, thick, dense forest next to a pleasant creek.

By: Lauren Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 31, 2015
Beautiful drive through wine country to get out to this spot, and even more beautiful views along the trails. The trails are well maintained and marked. Would bring along a copy of the map if you're trying to get in the longer loop, as it can be hard to remember which trails connect to make up the larger loop. The trails close at 3pm on many days during hunting season this year, so call or check online to make sure that you will have enough time to get in your hike. We had the whole place to ourselves the day we went out.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 01, 2015
This review is based on my experience today. The BRCES organization generously keeps the facility open for recreational use. I hiked it today following the route shown on this website. There was a group of about a dozen campers (I assume) and some folks at the farm area, but not one other hiker. Some of the trails are generously wide, but a lot of them are narrow (maybe one foot wide) with vegetation starting to encroach. Lots of spiderwebs, so the 5 rating for solitude is accurate. Would have been better on a horse. I saw virtually no footprints on the trails, but plenty of hoof marks. There was a small, but dead copperhead on the Piney Run Spur. After seeing it, I really watched my step. The Legacy Loop was overgrown as was Woodthrush Trail. Streams would rate a 2 in my opinion and I had to walk across wet rocks and through shallow (one or two inch depth) running water for several stream crossings. The is a nearly new, rustic-looking log bridge across Sweet Run on the Arnold Trail. Very nicely done with a flat top for stepping, a handrail, and gabion basket abutments. I was happy when I reached the powerlines because the trail was a wide bluestone road on which I saw a nice 8-point buck. The trails would be better for hikers if they were utilized more or if someone would ride an ATV around them a few times. I usually hike at a rapid pace, but this one took me 3.5 hours due to my watching nearly every step that I took on the narrow trails.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 17, 2014
A nice peaceful hike. I brought my dog and only saw two other pairs of hikers at the outset of my hike. I did not encounter anyone deeper in the maze of trails. The trails weaved through the woods and passed a couple idyllic streams. I thought it was a pretty easy hike a great choice for someone who just wants to wander in the woods with their thoughts. I did get lost at one point but it was my fault as I misplaced the map I printed. If you hike just for a visual reward (a view) then I would choose another hike, like the nearby, but more crowded, trails in Harpers Ferry.

By: Scott Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2014
A nice walk and much as advertised.  We were thrown off a bit not realizing that you have to ford Piney Run on the Little Turtle Trail and/or the Old Bridge Trail.  Today the Run was pretty high and fording it would have been difficult without stripping off our shoes.  At any rate, wanted to alert people who might not realize that there aren't actually bridges! 

Also, this is property is in the process of become a Virginia State Park.

By: Justin Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 01, 2013
This hike is just as advertised. I went on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and ran into two people while hiking the maze of trails for around four hours. Bringing the topo map helped alot, and was a good guide to decide what trails we needed to take next. While hiking, we saw a couple of turtles, a woodpecker, a deer, and some cranes. If you are in the mood for solitude, it does not get better than this hike.

By: Kristen Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 10, 2013
Had a really great time with a group of 4, plus our two dogs. Since we knew the trails weren't overly long we weren't too concerned about which trail to take at first. Saw an indigo bunting when out in the fields to the left, which was awesome! We took Farmstead Loop the rest of the way, taking a few side tours to the creek for the dogs rehydrate and to cross over the awesome log bridge about halfway through the loop. All in all it was a really great hike on a beautiful Spring Sunday. Didn't encounter too many people, either, which was perfect!

By: Airwva Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 23, 2012
This was a very relaxing hike. especially after the bustle of Thanksgiving. The day was nearly perfect sunny and warm, near 60 degrees. There were plenty of hikers on the lower farmstead loop by the stream, but there was absolutely no one on the backside by the Piney Branch loop. This is a great place for beginners of if you take along younger children. I thought that the trails could have been blazed a little better, but it's really not hard to stay on the path, as they are pretty well worn. Not much wildlife, but plenty of birds to watch.

By: AJ Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 16, 2012
This was an ok hike. It's the second "big" hike I've taken my daughter on. We probably didn't choose the best day to go because there was a festival going on there, although we still had the trails pretty much to ourselves. We took the path suggested on this website, which overall was nice. I didn't like the part on Butterfly Alley where those large power lines run through. And you're not missing anything if you skip the Legacy Loop - just go far enough to see the pond (a nice place to stop for lunch or a snack). I thought about turning back, but decided to take the loop which probably wasn't the best idea since my daughter got her shoes covered in mud and I nearly stepped on a black snake lying in a wet crevass between some rocks on the trail. But we had a lot of fun, especially stepping from stone to stone across the creek a couple times.

By: Andrew V Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 07, 2011
Overall an easy hike, this was my first hike of the year and I took along my girlfriend who really seemed to enjoy the hike also. Not far from the DC Metro area and a nice day hike.

By: WkdWarrior Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 25, 2010
My husband and I were looking for an easy but long hike a short distance from DC, and this fit the ticket--there were some moderate hills that got us sweating a bit, but no more than a 2.5 on a scale of 5 for difficulty.  There was some nice scenery--the ponds and streams are quite beautiful, and the Boy Scout-built bridges are fun--and we only encountered a couple people on the trail (close to HQ).  What we were not prepared for, however, were the gnats--they swarmed and followed us EVERYWHERE.  Definitely wear ample bug spray for this hike and keep your arms and legs covered if possible.  I was also quite disappointed by the "Butterfly Alley" portion of the hike, which takes you in a straight line over grassland under huge buzzing power lines--there weren't many butterflies (the gnats had taken over), and it was not at all scenic.  There were lots of muddy areas and we got a bit splattered, but as long as you're wearing sturdy sneakers, you'll be fine.  Overall, a fine option if you're unwilling to drive for multiple hours from DC and are willing to deal with the bugs.

By: Airwva Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 21, 2009
This was the first hike that my wife and I took together and I would highly recommend it for beginners. Didn't see much wildlife, however the scenery made up for it. The hike wasn't difficult but the trip around the Piney Run Spur was a decent workout. Can't wait to try it in the spring.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 21, 2009
The prior two reviews emphasize what I liked most about this hike: the solitude, and the little things. I had the entire property to myself on this hot and steamy Friday morning. It's true that there are no overwhelming vistas on this property (although the scenery at Gordon Pond is quite nice), it was the lesser views that were so pleasing: the bench at Piney Island, the bridges across the streams, Jonathon's Rock, and the multi-colored algae on Wortman pond. A note of caution: keep your trail map handy. Though it is very accurate, there are many intersections along the way at which you will need to orient yourself.

By: Walt G Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 16, 2009
I took my 6 year old daughter for a 3 hour hike on the recommended route minus the Legacy Loop. Basically a nice walk in the woods, not too strenuous and a few interesting things to see. The interesting sights are not big open vistas, but smaller things. Frogs in a stream, the Boy Scout built bridge on the Little Turtle Trail, a bleached turkey vulture skull, the wildflowers in Butterfly Alley. The quiet was nice, we didn’t see any other hikers on the trails.

By: Libby Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 13, 2009
The best part of this hike was the solitude, by far. My fiancee and I didn't see a single other person during our whole trek, which was a welcome change from some of the other trails we've done in NoVa. It was not physically challenging, though the gradual up and down grades did make for a decent work out. Definitely bring bug spray with you if you do it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 28, 2008

I took MRSHyker here for her birthday. We did the circuit shown here. It was a very pleasant walk in the woods with some short, modest climbs thrown in to let you know you were in the mountains. We found the Gordon Pond area to be a nice break spot. If you're into flora and fauna you can find at least 12 different species of wildflowers here. Most of these will be along Butterfly Alley (the power line swath) but others can be found in the wooded areas as well. We saw White Avens, Deptford Pinks, Black-eyed Susans, Fleabane, Ox-eye Daisies, Foxglove Beardtongue, Scarlet Pimpernel, Venus Looking Glass, Hyssop Skullcap, Tall Bellflower, Butterfly Weed, Common  Milkweed, White Vervain and Yarrow just to name a few.

Definitely bring a copy of the map but be aware of one possible point of confusion. It looks like there is only one place to ford Piney Run where the Little Turtle, Piney Run Spur and Farmstead trails come together but you have 2 chioces. If you cross at the southernmost one where an attempt at building a bridge is being made (See photo on this site.) you will arrive at one of the "historic cabins". There is no sign for the Piney Run Spur Trail at this point but it is to the left behind a wood gate of sorts. If you follow it north a short distance to the other ford you will find a more complete set of signs.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 22, 2008
I took my two son's ages 7 and 11 out on a two and a half hour hike today on this trail.We printed out the map which came in real handy.We did maybe 3 to 4 miles and have planty of trails to still go out on.I will take my boy's back out here agian. We liked it over all and look forward to more exploration on this system.We will try to hook up with the AT next time!

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