Winkler Botanical Preserve

Alexandria, Virginia

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A private nature sanctuary hidden in western Alexandria, Winkler Botanical Preserve is a lovely and unusual place to take a mini hike in the city while feeling like you are far from it. The Winkler Botanical Preserve is an extraordinary urban locale. Despite being surrounded by apartment complexes and office buildings, the enclosed park is a tranquil place that seems to be part wilderness and part campground. The scenery varies every few yards, and within the 44 acres lie gentle wooded hills, a full-size mountain lodge, a small lake, a half-hidden pond, several little streams, a miniature waterfall, mini meadows, a wooden bridge, and a small-scale network of trails. It has 70 species of trees and about 650 species of wildflowers and other plants. Its resident and transient wildlife population includes red foxes, small mammals and rodents, red-shouldered hawks, and lots of other birds. This 0.9-mile hike uses some of the preserve’s trails, which, although well maintained, are neither signposted nor blazed. Nor are the plants labeled.
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Washington, DC

DESCRIPTION FROM:

60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Washington, DC

by Renee Sklarew and Rachel Cooper (Menasha Ridge Press)

A private nature sanctuary hidden in western Alexandria, Winkler Botanical Preserve is a lovely and unusual place to take a mini hike in the city while feeling like you are far from it. The Winkler Botanical Preserve is an extraordinary urban locale. Despite being surrounded by apartment complexes and office buildings, the enclosed park is a tranquil place that seems to be part wilderness and part campground. The scenery varies every few yards, and within the 44 acres lie gentle wooded hills, a full-size mountain lodge, a small lake, a half-hidden pond, several little streams, a miniature waterfall, mini meadows, a wooden bridge, and a small-scale network of trails.

It has 70 species of trees and about 650 species of wildflowers and other plants. Its resident and transient wildlife population includes red foxes, small mammals and rodents, red-shouldered hawks, and lots of other birds. This 0.9-mile hike uses some of the preserve’s trails, which, although well maintained, are neither signposted nor blazed. Nor are the plants labeled.

© 2017 Renee Sklarew and Rachel Cooper /Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking, Walking
Nearby City: Alexandria
Distance: 0.9 mile
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1–2 hours
Season: Year-round
Additional Use: Birding
Features: Waterfalls, Wildflowers
Accessibility: Kid-friendly
Local Contacts: 703-578-7888
Local Maps: USGS Alexandria
Attractions: Small-scale woodlands, meadows, lake, pond, streams
Driving Directions: Directions to Winkler Botanical Preserve

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Apr 2018