I hate to admit it, but for several years, my main familiarity with Turkey Run was as a spot to turn around when I missed a turn-off on the GW Parkway. It's a shame, because it's a great park, with 700 acres and almost 3 miles of shoreline along the Potomac. We feature it this week in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
In the spring, Turkey Run Park is full of wildflowers, especially bluebells along the Potomac. In the fall, it's time to catch the turning leaves. And, once leaves are down, to catch better views of the river.
You have three good options for loop hikes at Turkey Run. All start by heading down the steep switchback trail that leaves from Parking Lot C:
this map). This can be extended by walking along the Potomac and then doubling back. Total hike is only about a mile, but it will feel like more.
2. At the bottom of the switchbacks, if you go to the left, it's about a mile to the next stream, which is called Dead Run. Follow Dead Run uphill and follow these directions to get back to the parking lot. Total hike is 3.9 miles.
3. At the bottom of the switchbacks, go right, and hike along the Potomac until you reach the Woods Trail (see the green and pink trails on this map). This will take you up the hill, past Parking Lots A and B, and back to Parking Lot C. Total hike is about 3 miles.
Of course, parts of these options can be mixed and matched, as you'll see when you look at the maps. If you want to go even farther, you can follow the Potomac River all the way to Roosevelt Island on the Potomac Heritage Trail -- it's just over 8 miles.
The entrance to Turkey Run is about 2 miles inside the Beltway (exit 43) on the GW Parkway. It's not accessible by public transportation as far as we can tell.
The park is free and open sunrise to sunset, every day. There are picnic tables, restrooms, and water fountains near the parking lots.
Bikes are not allowed.
Dogs are allowed, but must remain on leash.
Turkey Run Park
McLean, VA, 22101