Hiking

Enjoy a hike along the Nature Trail or the Dancing Marsh Loop Trail at George Washington Birthplace National Monument and experience different habitats that are home to a variety of plants and animals.
 

Things to Know

  • In summer, heat, humidity, and biting insects are present. In winter, hikers can face snow, ice, or cold. Careful consideration should be given to weather conditions.
  • Hikers need to assume individual responsibility for planning their trips and hiking safely. Before setting out on your hike, stop by the visitor contact station to obtain the latest information on park conditions. You will increase your odds of a safe hike, decrease your disturbance to park wildlife, and lessen damage to resources.
  • Be sure to check NOAA Tide Predictions as parts of the Dancing Marsh Loop Trail can flood during high tide.
 

On This Page Navigation

 

Nature Trail

Quick Details

  • Distance (round-trip): 1 mile
  • Duration (round-trip): 20 - 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Access: Trailhead is located in the Picnic Area parking lot across from the restrooms.

Details

The Nature Trail is unpaved, traverses on uneven ground, is frequently very muddy, and downed trees and/or limbs occasionally block the trail.

The initial section heads northwest into a thick wooded area and continues west for 2100 feet.

Watch for traffic while crossing the Picnic Area access road and head southeast for 350 feet to reach the Nature Trail’s first boardwalk.

Continue south for 550 feet to reach a trail intersection. Take the left-hand branch (the right-hand branch leads to the first boardwark on the Dancing Marsh Loop Trail.)

Continue eastward for 500 feet to reach the Nature Trail’s second boardwalk.

Travel another 500 feet eastward to the intersection. Take the left-hand branch away from the Footbridge. (The 400-foot-long Footbridge heads towards the Historic Area and the Visitor Center beyond.)

Head north along the edge of Popes Creek for 200 feet. Take the right-hand branch at this intersection and continue along the creek. (The left-hand branch is a steep spur trail for 100 feet to the Log House.)

There is another intersection after 300 feet. Head northeast along the right-hand branch (the left-hand branch heads northwest for 600 feet up a steep spur trail to the Log House Parking Lot.)

Continue north for another 600 feet to go through the Picnic Area to return to the Picnic Area Parking Lot.

Accessibility

  • Parking: One designated spot in the Picnic Area parking lot
  • Restrooms: At the Picnic Area, accessible family restroom, with a door lever to open (closed in winter).
  • Water: At the Picnic Area, accessible fountains not available.
  • Learn more about accessibility in the park.

Trail Map

 
Nature Trail Map



 

Dancing Marsh Loop Trail

Quick Details

  • Distance (round-trip): 0.75 mile
  • Duration (round-trip): 15 - 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Access: Trail can be accessed from either the Historic Area of the park or from the Nature Trail.

Details

This trail can be accessed from the Nature Trail, the Historic Area near the Hog Pen & the Rockefeller Barn, and the Historic Area at the Footbridge. The trail is unpaved, on uneven ground, frequently very muddy, and downed trees and/or limbs occasionally block the trail. This trail description starts at the Footbridge and continues counterclockwise.

From the Historic Area, head north across the 400-foot-long Footbridge over the Dancing Marsh.

Use the left-hand branch at the trail intersection on the far side of bridge (the right-hand branch follows the Nature Trail northward towards the Log House and the Picnic Area).

Head west for 1000 feet across two trail sections and two footbridges to reach intersection (note: these sections of trail overlap the Nature Trail).

Take the left-hand branch westward for 250 feet to stay on the Dancing Marsh Loop Trail and to cross the next boardwalk (the right-hand branch follows the Nature Trail).

Continue southwest for 550 feet to reach the fourth and final footbridge.

The trail turns southeast for 600 feet and continues up a small hill with snake rail fencing on the right.

At the intersection, the Rockefeller Barn is visible to the left and the Hog Pens are on the right.

Head straight (east) on a loose gravel path at the intersection (the right-hand branch is a gravel road that heads towards the Visitor Center).

After heading east for 100 feet, the Farm Workshop and the Tobacco Barn will be on the left. A small enclosed field and the Loafing Barn is on the right.

Continue east for 300 feet to reach the next intersection. On the left is the Weaving Room and the Public Restroom (open seasonally). Take the left-hand branch (the right-hand branch is a brick path towards the Memorial House Museum, the Gazebo, the Colonial Kitchen, the Colonial Garden, and Building X).

Head northeast down the steep staircase to reach this description’s starting point of the Footbridge (be careful as there are no handrails on the steps).

Accessibility

  • Parking: Four designated spots at the Visitor Center Parking Lot.
  • Restrooms: At the Visitor Center, men's and women's restrooms are wheelchair accessible with door operating by a push- button. Can be accessed from inside or outside.
  • Water: At the Visitor Center, inside water fountain and water filling station is wheelchair accessible.
  • Learn more about accessibility in the park.

Trail Map

 
Dancing Marsh Loop Trail Map



 

Last updated: April 28, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1732 Popes Creek Road
Colonial Beach, VA 22443

Phone:

(804) 224-1732 x227

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