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Fraser Preserve: An Easy Side of Moderate 6 Miles with Post Hike Meal!

  • Jan 26, 2013 · 10:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

An Easy Side of Moderate and Very Beautiful 6 Miles in Fraser Preserve!

Fraser Preserve is a 220-acre tract of mature woodlands and floodplain some 14 miles northwest of Washington in Fairfax County.

The Fraser Preserve boasts about 110 species of birds, including the bald eagle, and 300 varieties of wildflowers. A hike offers glimpses of the many natural habitats found in the Piedmont region, including clear fast streams, lush cold-spring swamp, marsh, mature hardwood forests, open meadow, ponds, river and stream floodplain forests and thickets, steep rocky bluffs, springs and seeps, and various stages of old field succession. The terrain slopes toward the Potomac River, which forms the northern boundary of the preserve.

Among the mammals known to live here are the mole, eastern chipmunk, gray squirrel, woodchuck, skunk, raccoon, whitetailed deer, fox, and beaver. Several species of turtle found here, including the wood turtle, usually live farther north. There are many amphibian species present, including the southern leopard frog, spring peeper, gray tree frog, American toad, two-lined salamander and northern red-backed salamander. The Fraser Preserve has about 110 species of birds, including 39 nesting species and the bald eagle. Among the nesting birds are the red-shouldered hawk, ruby-throated hummingbird, downy woodpecker, scarlet tanager, and blue-gray gnatcatcher. The tremendous variety of wildflowers at Fraser may be directly attributed to its diverse habitats. About 300 species of wildflowers have been identified in the preserve; of special interest are the following unusual or rare species: purple cress, marsh marigold, purple fringeless orchis, false (white) hellebore, and poison hemlock.

Trail Information

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Great Falls
Scenery: Woodlands, river views, remnants of 200 year old canal
Length: 6 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Exposure: Mostly shady; less so in winter
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 3-3.5 hours
Trail Surface:Chiefly dirt, some gravel; rooty, and can be muddy in places.
Local Maps: USGS Seneca, Vienna
Topo Map: Fraser Preserve Topographic Map
Facilities: None
Access: Call Preserve Manager Before Visiting

Weather Information
We hike rain, snow, or shine! Click here for up to the minute weather information for the trailhead.

Carpool Information

If you can drive or want to carpool from any locations such as the DC area, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click here for suggested carpool locations complete with directions. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!

Directions to the Trailhead

Click here for directions to where we meet for this hike

Hike Meetup Time is 10:00 a.m.

Gear Information
Click here for suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.

Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back which means that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then find another group! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

The Nature Conservancy has a nationwide policy prohibiting pets on all preserves, so Fido is Not Allowed



Join or login to comment.

  • Dave L.

    This was just the kind of hike i was looking for and the new snow was beautiful. Thanks, Justin for leading, and to everyone else for coming out on a chilly morning!

    1 · January 26, 2013

  • rachel

    anyone driving from dc? would really appreciate a ride :)

    December 26, 2012

    • Uma

      Me too

      January 18, 2013

    • Dave L.

      I'm driving from downtown Silver Spring and have room for up to three others. Happy to pick up in DC or the Takoma Park Metro station.

      January 25, 2013

  • Kellie C.

    How to Move from the Waitlist to a “Yes” - If you are on the wait list, you will get an e-mail as slots become available. It is a “first come first serve” system for available slots. Slots are open to everyone, whether on the wait list or not. However, being on the wait list will make certain that you are notified when open slots become available as well as letting me know to look for another leader if the trails (and parking) can accommodate it and still comply with our Leave No Trace pledge. Click the following link for how to get off the wait list and RSVP “yes”, Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need further assistance as that is what I am here for.

    January 24, 2013

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Your organizer's refund policy for Fraser Preserve: An Easy Side of Moderate 6 Miles with Post Hike Meal!

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled
  • you can cancel at least 2 day(s) before the Meetup

Additional notes: Refund only if you cancel 48 hours PRIOR to the start time of the hike.

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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