Hiking at Turkey Run in Virginia
Turkey Run Park is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, a scenic route that hugs the Potomac River on the Virginia side of the river across from Washington, DC. The park is located about two miles south of the Washington Betlway on the north end of the GW Parkway. This park and the entire GW Parkway is operated by the National Park Service and many of it's attractions are free, including Turkey Run.
Turkey Run is easily accessible by car on the GW Parkway. You will see signs for the park both from the Northbound and Southbound lanes. There is ample parking in picnic areas of the park. If you are visiting DC, the park is about a 15 to 20 minute drive from downtown, but it's still inside the Washington Beltway.
I've lived in DC for years, but just recently decided to check out Turkey Run. I've been to nearby Roosevelt Island many times. (See my review of Roosevelt Island) My initial impressions, Turkey Run is a hidden gem right in the middle of the DC metro region. Once you pull off the GW Parkway you're in nature and surrounded by a canopy of large trees. I parked in the first parking area and hit the trail with my dog. The park is pet friendly, just remember to keep your dog on a leash and clean up. There are maps in the parking lots. You can make a complete loop of the park, including a nice strech along the river on the Potomac Herritage Trail.
I would classify the hike as medium difficulty. There are some elevation changes and the trail gets very narrow as it hugs the coastline. If you complete the entire loop it's approximately four miles. It's a perfect short hike and spot for a picnic. There are sections where the trail runs right up to the river. At this point on the Potomac the river is wide and fast moving. Along the banks the water was crystal clear and relatively shallow. The pictures with this article were all taken on this section of the trail.
Overall, I'd highly recommend checking out Turkey Run if you like the great outdoors and want to see a different side of Washington, DC. Remember sunscreen and I highly recommend bug spray. I recommend hiking shoes or footwear that will grip rocks and terrain. The park is open year round from 6:00am-10:00pm. For the latest information visit the Turkey Run Park website.