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Hiker Comments for the Scott''s Run Hike - 1 to 38 of 38   
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, January 26, 2017
Great DC area hike! If you are in DC definitely check it out, but I wouldnt travel to DC to do it. Lots of trails to choose from so took about 3 hours to check them all out. Few things: (1) people have mentioned a sewage smell, but other than maybe at the parking lot I didnt smell it at all. (2) Great place to hike with kids, dogs, but a few trails are more difficult than others (Order from easiest to hardest: Light blue/light green, purple, blue, red, yellow, orange). (3) pretty empty, but I did go on a work day.

Here is a link to the trail map: . Top left is the trail map, top right (red) is what I walked, bottom left (yellow) is what this website recommends), bottom right (green) is what I think is a better hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 5, 2015
My wife and I took our four girls (ages 11 through 6) for a wonderful hike at Scott's Run this morning. The "sewage" smell was only faintly noticeable in the upper parking lot. We followed the route outlined here, working our way down to the falls. We'll need to remember swim gear next time so we can take a dip in the water! Instead of getting wet, we opted to climb the rocks far above the falls. The rocks were sheer at times, so thankfully no one slid down! We had lunch on the point and caught an osprey and heron having lunch out on the Potomac. The rest of the trail was uneventful, but pleasant. For a Saturday morning, the trails were populated, but not crowded. We'll definitely be going back to explore some of the other trails, especially the ruins which we weren't able to get to.

By: northern va resident Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 3, 2015
The waterfall was pretty, but the entire hike all you smell is sewage. I would skip this hike in favor of great falls national park, just down the road. Believe me, of you want a jaw dropping hike, great falls is where it's at! For a Mediocre hike, come to scotts run. It's not how it used to be.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 12, 2015
Warning: parking lot smash and grab today in the crowded parking lot. The hike was busy but most people opted just to quickly hop down to the river. Take the circuit!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 27, 2014
I have been hiking in this preserve for more than forty years. Needless-to-say, it has special meaning to me and my family. Thus I was horrified to see signs posted throughout the area warning hikers that deer are being bow hunted in this PRESERVE. Preservationists united to save this land back when it was the Burling Tract, but why aren't people rallying to protect deer from being stalked by bow hunters in this supposed haven? If deer numbers are that high, why weren't/aren't alternatives being considered/used?

By: AsiaFan Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 20, 2014
Went on this hike with my school aged kids and another family with the same. It was a mild easy hike with some elevation and a decent (though not breath-taking) vista. It was a warm winter day with runners and adults with dogs on the trail. Kids had a great time playing in the brooks and streams. Definitely recommend it with family!

By: Rook Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 22, 2013
we did an out and back because we went to the other side of scotts run. the rock scramble was really fun and the falls was amazing. and only 40 mins from home!

By: Fireg8tr Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 1, 2013
We went as a family hike. The park was easy to find. Despite its' close proximity to major roads, the sound of running water and the occasional plane were all you could hear. The western parking lot had plenty of room, but be careful getting back out. Most of the trails were crushed rock or compressed ground. My 4 and 6 year old had a great time. The kids liked the rough trail in the NW corner of the park. It ends at the waterfall with some rock climbing. You will either have to back track or climb across (getting wet) to get to the other trails. The internal trails themselves were not well marked. A compass and a pic of the park map taken as we entered helped. The kids loved the river crossings. Warning - The park is monitored by the US Park Police. They will ticket you for swimming.

By: Ubikwity Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 6, 2013
This was a nice hike, although not my favorite. The directions and map are accurate until you get to the waterfall at the Potomac but then things get murky as you go along the river. The area of the "little point" is not obvious. I'm actually not sure if the "little point" is supposed to be further east along the river - on the map you see the dotted trail and a more prominent point with three small islands in the river, but that doesn't seem to be part of the hike that's highlighted on the topo map. There are an awful lot of trees down in that area as well. Makeshift trails that go around them lead back up the hill. The trails are not well marked for the most part so if you're a map freak like I am it can be confusing and a little frustating. But you won't get lost - you're essentially just making a big square between the river and Georgetown Pike.

By: Bill D Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 30, 2012
This hike won't test the limits of human endurance or draw on your survival skills, but it is a great family outing, especially if you live in the DC/NoVA area.  I did this hike with my wife, three sons (ages 3, 7, and 9), and my dog, and everyone had a great time.

We parked in the west parking lot and hiked toward the river.  The first part of the loop follows a stream through the forest, and you have to cross the streams twice using a series of round concrete steps.  As they were making these crossings, the boys informed me that it was very treacherous.  I wholeheartedly agreed with them that they were indeed brave explorers, as I stood in a quarter-inch-deep section of the stream taking photos of them.  The trail follows the stream until it reaches the Potomac, at which there is a nice waterfall there as it empties into the river.  There are plenty of places to reach the waterfall for a good view. 

There trail then follows the Potomac river east and then rises slowly until you reach a very nice overlook with a great view of the river.  The trail then loops back through the forest with enough of a vertical climb to break a sweat, but not enough to prevent a high-energy three-year-old (are there any low-energy three year olds?) from completing it. 

Overall, this was a great way to spend a beautiful fall Sunday morning with your family.  Many people seem to agree, as the trail was busy with other families enjoying the trail and walking their dog, so you won't get much solitude on a nice day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 5, 2012
We actually made this a 3.1 mile loop, Once you get a way from the waterfall, you will no longer be around a whole lot of people, if any.

Some of the loop needs maintenance, there are a few large trees that are blocking your path.  My 3 year old was able to scale the tress, it  was fun to watch him cross the concrete posts.

Parking = Free
Hike= Easy
Water Fall in NVA  = 4 stars

By: Rachel H Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, February 27, 2012
This isn't a bad little walk when you've got an hour to kill. We didn't bring the map with us, and there are few places on the trail where one is posted, so our loop was a little longer and more convoluted than the one shown here. The section along the waterfront was very slippery in many places, but it's by far the most interesting portion of the hike, so bring good shoes and know that you might get a bit muddy.

By: Pete Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 22, 2012
I went on this hike yesterday, ase I wanted to take pictures of the waterfall in the snow. The hike itself is not as good as it used to be. A lot of the concrete pegs crossing the streams have come out, and new pilings have been jury rigged by someone. As you get closer to the falls on the east side, there are a handful of large downed trees that you have to climb over. If you take the west side of Scotts run, there are a lot of downed trees you have to go around. Also, it looks like that particular trail isn't used that much anymore. I went on both sides, which was a bit risky on the west side due to the ice and snow. That said, the falls aren't bad, especially this time of year, when there is a lot of water. It's not Great Falls but it's is nice to have something like that hike that close to the Beltway (less than a mile away on Old Georgetown Pike) By the way, the easiest access to the second parking lot, not the first.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 14, 2012
We hiked Difficult Run and Scott's Run Nature Preserve on 01/14/12. Started on Difficult run at 9:00 Am and took about 3 hrs and 15 min with taking over 100 pictures. The Trail is Very easy with so much to look at on just about the entire hike. The Trail is still closed for just a very small area that it seemed everyone just walked past including us. I am sure it would have been an issue if it was raining or just rained that night. But it was very easy for us to cross the washed out area. We finished the hike at around 12:10 and went right over to Scott&rsquos Run. We arrived at the lower parking lot of Scott&rsquos Run at 12:25. Now Scotts run is a little more difficult to map. After crossing the first concrete posts we made our way to the 2nd set of concrete posts crossing the stream. We did not cross the stream we just kept going straight on the fading trail following along the left side of the stream. As they said in the review this may not be for kids or people with dogs. But we had a great time doing some climbing on the boulders. After getting to the waterfall and crossing the stream we hiked along the Potomac as the map directs then made a right going uphill to the flag post. We kept straight for a while until we made a right to follow the trail to get to the Burling House Ruins. After the Ruins we turned back to get to the main trail we just came from and followed the trail back to the parking area. Finished the hike at 2:20PM so just under 2 hours with GPS saying we hiked 3.33 miles.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 27, 2011
Awesome hike for little kids. They had a blast throwing rocks in the water and scrambling on the rocks. Can't wait to go again.

By: Aaron Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 27, 2011
Great hike for kids. It has a little bit of everything. We even took the the harder leg instead of crossing the pillions and it wasn't that hard. Kids said they definitely want to go back again.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 20, 2011
Very crowded with people and pets and Fairfax County Animal Control. The paths are not very well maintained with a number of fallen trees blocking the trails. It was very difficult for the kids and I think we'll look elsewhere.

By: Ms Rae Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 20, 2011
I had a good time hiking but it was not well marked.  I had to rely on the traffic patterns in the fallen leaves.  There were many downed trees and folks with animals.  Not all dogs were leashed and one owner didn't pick up his dogs droppings!  It wasn't hard to find your way but because I parked in the first lot I had to find my way from the second parking lot.  You have to go up the stairs to continue the trail to the first parking lot.  I would hike this location again in the spring when there are few leaves and more streams...most were dried up

By: Jess Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 15, 2011
This was a great hike for my boyfriend and I and our dog Max. Nice to see the beginning of the fall colors. We spent about an hour and a half walking around the loop and by the Potomac. I would recommend parking at the West parking lot because it is a lot bigger and there are many more spaces. Afterwards we went to the Potomac Vegetable Farms stand that is on Rt. 7 and had some freshly pressed apple cider. Nice way to spend a fall day all around.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 8, 2011
Really enjoyed this hike. We only had a couple of hours to get somewhere and do a short hike. So it took us about a half hour to get there and a little less then an hour to do the 2.2 mi. circuit. Saw a beautiful Buck with his lovely mate. He had at least 8 points. They were a little concerned about our presence but we didn't scare them away. Plenty of solitude if you start the hike by going right up the stairs. You don't start seeing people until you get to the stream. It's an easy walk in the woods. Next time we go we're going to trade our boots for some running shoes.

By: Dave B Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 2, 2011
I found Scott's Run Nature Preserve through this website when I was visiting in the area -- thanks for providing the info.  I trail ran the preserve on an early weekend am after heavy overnight rain.  The fords over Scott's Run were covered in swift waters, so I stayed away from them.  The trails/boulders were very wet but I had a terrific time.  This place has it all:  numerous trails, a variety of flats and hills, gorgeous views of the Potomac, lovely hardwood forests.  Only saw one other person while there.  I had a bit of trouble finding the parking lot on the way out, but like the website says -- the river is to the north, and the road is to the south -- so I eventually found my car.  I definitely plan to visit again next time I'm in the area.  

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 18, 2011

Hey Barrett,

I hope that you still check this page occasionally.  I found the Washington Post article dated July 28th, 1970 that shows the 70  people that were blocking the bulldozers.  I don't have your email.  Send it to me and I will forward you the photo.  For those of you unfamiliar with what I am talking about, Barret and I with 70 other people laid down in front of Bulldozers back in 1970 to preserve what is now called "Dranesville District park".

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 8, 2011
Overall good hike for my family and I. We parked in the southern lot and made the loop from there. I've got three boys aged 8, 5 and 3 and they all had a good time though the 8 yr old could have used more of a challenge it was great for the other two boys. My wife, the photographer, was able to get some good shots of the homesite and the waterfall. The trail was well maintained and generally free of trash and overall even though it was cold we had a good time. The only challenging section was where you cross the river using the concrete pilons my two youngest boys have short legs so crossing these points required me to carry them. This is only our second hike in Virginia as we just moved here from Oregon so maybe we're biased on what trails should be like.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 21, 2010
We hiked this trail with the Cub Scouts and my husband lost his gold cross necklace. It is yellow gold with a white gold Jesus on the cross and is about 1.5 inches long. I re-hiked the trail today to look for it, but with the thick leaf cover, it's hard to find anything. I'm relying on the kindness of strangers if you find it - please let us know!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 12, 2010
Hiked the trail today with my six year old son.  He is a very enthusiastic hiker and we both enjoyed the Scott's Run Nature Preserve very much.  We started at the smaller parking lot (closest to the Beltway) and hiked towards the main parking lot where we climbed down the trail and stairs to the main trail that runs along the water (Scott Run).

We decided to take the trail to the left of Scott Run and we encountered some very muddy slopes and lots of downed trees.  It was a bit difficult for my son and we stopped and turned around at the top of the ridge that overlooks the rapids/falls.  We decided not to try and navigate all the rocks and boulders.  Once we got back to the stepping stones at the main trail we decided to hike up the 0.1 mile and then down the other 0.1 mile to the Potomac River.  Very beautiful view once we got down to the falls.  We enjoyed a few moments throwing some rocks into the river and taking in the scenery.  We ran into a couple who were walking their dog, and they suggested we take the trail back to our parking lot that runs by the old Burling House Ruins.  My son really enjoyed seeing the old chimney and having a water break at the house site.  We then hiked back down the trail to our car.

We spent two hours and probably covered about 2 miles.  Very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 11, 2010
My mother and I and about 100 or so other people laid down in front of the Miller and Smith bulldozers back in the early 70's and kept that beautiful tract of land from being developed. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have hiked it (in the 100's)! I found it beautiful as an 11 year old boy and it still gives me chills as a 50 year old man! I have taken my 10 and 13 year old boys hiking on it several times as well. I don't get to hike it as much as I used to as we now live outside the DC area. But I am so happy that so many people still enjoy it!!!!

By: Rachel Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 29, 2010
Hiked this trail on Sunday with my father and our dog. There was some serious erosion on the trail. A lot of gravel is gone and further down the trail after you cross the stream for the first time the sediment has washed up there. A sloped bank by the waterfall that used to be supported by a downed tree is completely gone. Quite amazing actually. Tried the more difficult path this time and it is impossible to get down. We ended up turning around because we couldn't figure out where the path should go. Lots of downed trees on that path. Not sure when all the rain and washout happened, but when I last hiked it in early July it was very different.

By: Ladson Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 27, 2010
Easily one of the best kept secrets in No. Virginia. Great location for some rock scrambling. Did the hike in my 5-fingers instead of my normal hiking boots. Waterfall and surrounding areas provide for some great views down the Potomac. Less than 20 minutes from DC/Arlington.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, March 11, 2010
I went on this hike with a buddy of mine yesterday. All of the snow is finally melted and it was a very enjoyable hike. We took an alternative route to the waterfall and wandered some of the other meeting trails to make the hike a bit longer. From the east parking lot (going clockwise) you can see cars from Georgetown pike, but that quickly disappears and the trail wasn't as crowded as I had excepted. I give this trail a 4 because of the great features along with the very close location. There aren't many places this close to the metro area with a waterfall, river, and small rock scrambles (if you venture from the trail a bit).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 28, 2010
There is still 1-5" of snow and the footing is a little tricky on that last uphill and downhill to get to the river but the woods trails were fun and sloppy.

By: Joe R Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 1, 2009
Took the girlfriend on this hike today. Took the more difficult path along the side of the Run. Difficult, but very rewarding once we finally came out above the waterfall.

By: Melissa Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 25, 2009
My boyfriend and I took our dog to Scotts Run today. We hiked down to the water and our dog loved playing in the water and it was a good, safe area for him. The hike was a medium difficulty level, with some climbing parts and some steep rocks to slide down. However, we made the mistake of thinking it would be fun to go a little off path our way back. We followed the water on our way back, as opposed to going straight up the path. We ran into a HUGE bee hive that completely obliterated me, my boyfriend, AND my dog (if anyone was there today and heard murderous female screams.. that was me). I got stung over 40 times alone. It was awful. The hike itself is very safe and fun, but I wanted to write this blog to warn hikers to STAY ON THE TRAIL. My boyfriend has hiked there off trail once with a friend and his dog and they were fine.. but our mishap caused us way too much pain to ever try that again. Just a warning!

By: Mike H. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 8, 2009
Good local hike.  I did this hike with several people and a dog, and we all enjoyed it.  We took the path scrambling on the rocks to get to the falls and found an alternate route back to the parking lot on the wide, fire road trails.  Enjoyed the rock scrambling following Scott's Run down to the Potomac.  The dog handled the scrambling just fine, but children and older folks may find some areas difficult.  The scrambling trail was sparsely populated, but the wide trails were heavily trafficked.  Granted, it was a 70 degree day in February, but due to its proximity to 495, this trail is likely regularly crowded.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 2, 2008
for the locality to the DC area, I must give it a 4.......more likely a five just because its a short drive for the metro area folks.     As an avid long distance hiker, I must say most waterfalls are well in the woods, and this one is quite well as the views of the river from it.  Take a lunch, enjoy the many flat rocks hear the waterfall for a great meal, and to reflect on the beauty of nature.  I recommend going the hard way and scrambling on the rocks to get to the makes it far more worth it, as the rest of the trails tend to be crowded, and wide gravel/fire road type paths....Over all a great local treasure, not to be missed when time is short.

By: Mansi K Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 12, 2008
Overall a good hike, very scenic. I good place in a short distance of the DC area.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 12, 2008
My wife and I walked from the parking to the waterfall and back today.  It was wonderful.  We took a bunch of pictures.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 14, 2006
It isn't often that, as a senior citizen, one gets invited to go hiking with one's son. That's why I gladly accepted the invitation to do the Scott's Run hike. It was overcast but cool. That's ideal for hiking. I liked the hike because, despite the recent rainfall, the minor tracks were not too slippery and the fast flowing Scott's Run and waterfall, where the creek enters the Potomac River, added a lot of interest. Views over the Potomac River are great.

I recommend this hike to seniors (and families with young children) because the gradients are gentle, the route to be taken can be any distance between one and five miles, and the starting point is very accessible by car being just a mile or so off the Beltway (I495) in McLean.

Turn the tables, you invite your kids to join you on this walk. It's quality time!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, April 1, 1970
I havent been there since December of 1970. But the peace and quiet so close to chaos was magnificent. There were only crued trails but that was good it kept the lazy and waste trash out. My friend Steve and I set up camp early spring  near the falls and stayed until fall. We had our own summer of love. In that time we had several hundred guest. Most heard of what we were doing from Georgetown to Woodstock NY. Joe Walsh poped in for a weekend as did a few other notables from Presidents and Congresmens children to people from the Weather Underground. It was a great summer of skinny dipping in the falls, songs and planning a better world. I am so glad to hear that someone with deep pockets has not been able to claim the site for their backyard dinner parties. And other generations have been able to enjoy the area.

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