Hike Theodore Roosevelt Island to Scott's Run Nature Preserve

This natural surface foot trail is the first trail to carry the name "Potomac Heritage Trail." It begins at the parking area for Theodore Roosevelt Island. The route is fairly rugged, especially the first four miles to Chain Bridge. After turning inland for awhile, the trail returns to the Potomac shoreline, climbs a hill under the American Legion Bridge and follows Live Oak Drive to an entrance into Scott's Run Nature Preserve. Expect flooding at both ends in high water.


Trip Planner

Start: Roosevelt Island
End: Scott's Run Nature Preserve, Swinks Mill Road trailhead
Miles: 10.8
Points of Interest: Roosevelt Island, Rosslyn, Fort Marcy, Turkey Run Park
Parking: Roosevelt Island (0.0 mi.), Windy Run (1.8 mi. via side trail), Gulf Branch Nature Center (3.8 mi via 0.8 mile side trail), North Glebe Rd. (4.3 mi.), Fort Marcy (4.8 mi.), Turkey Run Park (7.5 mi. via 0.3 mile side trail)
Water: Roosevelt Island, Gulf Branch Nature Center, Turkey Run Park
Restrooms or Privy: Roosevelt Island, Turkey Run Park
Provisions: Rosslyn
Camping: None

Hike Data
Mile Navigation
0 Roosevelt Island parking lot - junction with paved Mount Vernon Trail.
0.2 Pass under Key Bridge.
1.8 Windy Run Trail.
3.8 Trail to Gulf Branch Nature Center.
4.2 Chain Bridge (access to the C & O Canal Towpath across the river).
4.3 North Glebe Rd.
4.8 Fort Marcy.
7.5 Trail to Turkey Run Park.
8.2 Turkey Run.
9.4 Dead Run.
9.9 Pass under American Legion Bridge.
10.0 Live Oak Drive. Continue west along the road & sound wall.
10.2 Enter Scott's Run Nature Preserve past the swim club (no parking). Follow Woodland Trail, staying on trail at two junctions leading right.
10.5 Turn right on Loop Trail, then stay left as Woodland Trail continues to river. To visit river stay on Woodland Trail, then take River Trail to Swinks Mill Road trailhead.
10.6 Turn right at Woodland Trail.
10.8 Swinks Mill Road trailhead parking.

Explore the PHT

Roosevelt Island
See Virginia Hike 3.

Fort Marcy
This was one of the 67 forts that ringed Washington during the Civil War. Situated on Prospect Hill and completed in 1862, the fort measures 338 feet in diameter. Originally named Fort Baldy Smith, it was renamed for Randolph Marcy, the father-in-law of General George McClellan. The fort is relatively intact.

Last updated: July 28, 2017

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
c/o Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
142 W. Potomac St.

Williamsport, MD 21795


This phone will reach the main line for the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

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