Family Hike: Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax, Virginia

October 16, 2012 at 10:55 am 2 comments

This past June, Sagan went on his first outing with a hiking buddy his own age. He was invited by young Adela (roughly six months his junior) to check out Fairfax County’s Huntley Meadows Park. Huntley Meadows encompasses 1425 acres, including some impressive freshwater wetlands. The trails are short, completely flat and well maintained. You aren’t going to get your heartrate up in Huntley Meadows, but if you are in the market for some wildlife, this is the place to go to.

Huntley Meadows Park - Sagan Meets Adela
Hiking Buddy Adela and Sagan

Trail Overview
We started at the Visitors Center and took the Cedar Trail to the observation tower to take in the wetlands. Afterwards, we took the boardwalk for a more intimate encounter with the wetlands. Finally, the Heron Trail took us on the last leg of the journey back. Overall, I think we walked between 1 and 1.5 miles.

Huntley Meadows Park - Sagan Smiles As He Passes
On Cedar Trail

Huntley Meadows Park - Sagan and Ryan Take in View
Taking in View From Observation Tower

Huntley Meadows Park - Walkway From Above
Wetlands from Observation Tower

Flora
On the tree front, I saw a variety of oaks, red maples, black gum and hickory. The wetlands sported swamp rose and some amazingly fragrant white flowers and lots and lots of grasses.

Huntley Meadows Park - Spikey Grass

Fauna
The real highlight of the trip was all the animals that were commonplace in the park. Almost immediately, our companion found a small frog in the parking lot. From there, we would see and hear many more frogs. Turtles were everywhere as where geese and herons. We saw a red-winged blackbird. Although we didn’t get the see the beavers, their handiwork was readily visible.

Huntley Meadows Park - Little Frog
Frog in Parking Lot

Huntley Meadows Park - Frog in Water
Frog in Water

Huntley Meadows Park - Turtle Head
Turtle Pokes Head Out of Water

Huntley Meadows Park - Baby and Adult Canadian Geese
Geese

Huntley Meadows Park - Red Winged Black Bird
Red-Winged Blackbird

Huntley Meadows Park - Beaver Handiwork
Formidable Stick Pile

Thanks to the beautiful landscape and all the animal-sightings, our outing was a memorable one. But there was an additional characteristic to the trip that we could appreciate as new parents — it was short and fast! When we finished our loop, we still had plenty of time to tackle all the tasks that waited for us back home.

Thank you to Adela and her father for inviting us along!

More pictures of our outing to Huntley Meadows Park are available on my Flickr site.

Huntley Meadows Park

3701 Lockheed Blvd
Alexandria, Virginia

Trail Map

Length: Varies 1.5 – 2 miles

Elevation Gain: Neglible

Directions from Occoquan, Virginia

Take Route 1 North towards Ft. Belvoir/Mt Vernon for 11.4 miles

Turn left on Lockheed Blvd

Turn left on Harrison Lane

Entry filed under: Hiking, Virginia. Tags: .

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