Scotts Run Nature Preserve

Greenbelt, Maryland 20770

Scotts Run Nature Preserve

Scotts Run Nature Preserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Out-of-sight Scotts Run Nature Preserve, on the Potomac River very near the beltway, is well supplied with flora, fauna, breathtaking cliff and river views, a waterfall, and rapids, with a variety of hiking trails.

This hike loops through thickly wooded uplands and reaches the river in three places. It’s hilly enough to provide about 420 feet of elevation change. There are trailside maps, and blazes are usually easy to spot, but take a map and plan your route before you go. Also, watch for signs on the Potomac Heritage Trail, which traverses the shoreline; it can be muddy, rooty, and rocky."

More Scotts Run Nature Preserve Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Virginia - 4th Edition (Falcon Guides)
Bill and Mary Burnham
View more trails from this guide book
"Scotts Run Nature Preserve offers Northern Virginians a relaxing way to spend some time in a deep-forest atmosphere of oak, beech, and tulip poplar. The small streams that spill off high river bluffs nourish carpets of ferns, grasses, and wildflowers. The most spectacular stream is, of course, Scotts Run, with its 30-foot multilevel waterfall that breaks just before the stream joins the Potomac River. Once known as the Burling Tract, named for one of its owners, this preserve is now linked with Riverside and Great Falls parks farther upstream as a link in the Potomac Gorge biological system, a complex of plants and animals—some globally rare and found no where else on earth—that eek out a life along the turbulent Potomac River."

Scotts Run Nature Preserve Trip Reports

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
My husband, my 5 year old, and I really enjoyed this trail. We did some geocaching while here, which was what brought us to the trail. Now that we know about it, we'll come again. Off of the East Parking lot, the trails are very well marked at every intersection. Off of the West Parking lot, not so well marked, especially the smaller cutoffs - some look like deer trails. Just need to watch your track on this side. Waterfall is fun and it's very safe for kids on the main trails and at the waterfront on the West side near the waterfall.
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars

Scotts Run Nature Preserve Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
3 miles
Trail Type
Easy to Difficult
Skill Level
2.5 hours
Additional Use
Waterfalls, Wildflowers
Nearby Riverbend Park, 703-759-9018
Local Contacts
Posted at trailhead and at many trail intersections
Local Maps

Trail Log