Wintertime in Fraser Preserve! An Easy-Side-of-Moderate and Biodiverse 6 Mile Hike
Fraser Preserve is a 220-acre tract of mature woodlands and floodplain some 14 miles northwest of Washington in Fairfax County.
The nicely shaded 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, white-tailed 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 orchids, false (white) hellebore, and poison hemlock.
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
Trail Surface: Chiefly dirt, some gravel; rooty, and can be muddy in places.
Local Maps: USGS Seneca, Vienna
Topo Map: Fraser Preserve Topographic Map
Access: Because this Location is a Nature Preserve, Before Visiting Our Organization Must First Call the Preserve Manager and Apply for a Special Permit. (Kellie Carlisle, the founder and executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group non-profit charitable organization has our access permit reviewed and renewed annually)
Park Entry Fee
There is no park entrance fee.
Click Here for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.
We hike rain, snow, or shine. Click Here to view the forecast for the area where we will be hiking.
The goal for this hike is to maintain an average moving pace of ~ 2.5 mph. This speed is frequently used in popular hiking publications to represent the pace of an average hiker. We welcome you to please sign up for another hike if you know that this is not a comfortable pace for you. We strive to offer a variety of hikes and pace options so we can always have something for everyone no matter their interest and ability.
Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
Click Here to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.
Carpool Suggestions and Information
Note that you are responsible for knowing how to get from carpool locations to the venue. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is not responsible for transportation to and from events or carpools. Suggested carpool times and places are provided as a courtesy because many members are either new to the area or unfamiliar with a particular hike or venues location. Please use the 'Comments' section below, or reach out via e-mail to make arrangements for carpooling needs and offerings.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click Here for a list of suggested carpool locations complete with directions and other details including other carpool information. 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
Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 9:45-9:55 a.m.
The Hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Please remember we are a volunteer supported organization that values fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette and Leave No Trace principles. Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, and donations ARE tax deductible. Tax ID: [masked].
Fido is Not Allowed on this Hike Due to the Nature Conservancy Nationwide Policy Prohibiting Pets on All Preserves
Let’s have fun out on the trails and see you there!
• Donations to Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group are Tax Deductible: Tax ID[masked]. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charitable organization.
• Click Here to Learn more about Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s Mission.
• 100% of Every Dollar Goes Directly to the Expenses of Meeting our Mission.
Refunds offered if:
Additional notes: Refund if you update your RSVP BEFORE 48 hours of this event. Visit midatlantichikinggroup.org for MAHG mission or click 'Pages' tab above. MAHG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization & donations (not fees) ARE Tax Deductible-Tax ID: 47-5141831
Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.