• Aerial view of the George Washington Memorial Parkway in the fall

    George Washington

    Memorial Parkway DC, MD, VA

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve

Dyke Marsh is one of the largest remaining freshwater tidal wetlands in the Washington metropolitan area. Its 485 acres of tidal marsh, floodplain, and swamp forest can be explored by boat or on foot.

 
Aerial photograph of cattails and tidal guts in Dyke Marsh
 

Things to Do

The Haul Road Trail follows an old mining road through each type of habitat in Dyke Marsh. The trail is three-quarters of a mile long, flat, and paved in a combination of pea gravel and boardwalk.

The best way to explore the tidal guts of Dyke Marsh is by boat. There are a boat ramp and boats for rent at the Belle Haven Marina.

Expert birders from Friends of Dyke Marsh lead bird walks each Sunday. Walks leave from the entrance to the Haul Road Trail at 8 am.

Volunteers will pick up litter in the marsh during the 26th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup on April 5, 2014. Trash bags and gloves will be available at the entrance to the Haul Road Trail from 9 am to noon.

To request a ranger program at Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve call 7032892553.

Hours & Seasons

The grounds at Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve are open year-round from 6 am to 10 pm.

Directions

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is in Virginia on the George Washington Memorial Parkway between Alexandria and Mount Vernon.

By Car

From Old Town Alexandria drive south on Washington Street and continue on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Take the exit for Belle Haven Park.

From Mount Vernon drive north on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Take the exit for Belle Haven Park.

Parking is available in two large parking lots at Belle Haven Park. Turn left immediately after exiting the parkway to reach these lots. There are marked wheelchair accessible parking spaces near the Haul Road Trail entrance. Go straight after exiting the parkway to reach these spaces.

On Foot or by Bicycle

The Mount Vernon Trail runs through Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve.

Facilities

Restrooms, water fountains, and trash cans are located on the Mount Vernon Trail between the two large parking lots in Belle Haven Park. There are also restrooms, water fountains, and trash cans near the marina boat ramp.

Rules and Regulations

Bicycles are not allowed on the Haul Road Trail. There is a bike rack at the entrance to the trail.

A vessel's internal combustion engine may not be used (while a vessel using electric trolling motor, sail, or paddling is allowed) and no more than three vessels of an organized group at any one time is allowed within designated areas of Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve during the Marsh wren and Least bittern nesting season from May 15 to August 25 to protect breeding Marsh wrens and Least bitterns.

Commercial activities and activities by organized groups, including commercial photography/filming and weddings, require a permit. For information about permits please call 703‑289‑2513.

For a complete list of rules, please read the Laws & Policies.

Did You Know?