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Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
Trail type
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit

Scott's Run Nature Preserve is located just outside of Washington, D.C., serving as a perfect afternoon getaway for D.C. nature lovers. Most well known for Scott's Run Waterfall, the nature preserve also boasts several miles of well-maintained trails that eventually make their way down to the Potomac River.

One route that hits the highlights of the preserve is a 2.4-mile loop starting from the parking lot. Follow the Yellow Trail from the parking lot for 0.75 mile to Stubblefield Falls Overlook, where a rocky outcrop provides a nice view of the Potomac River. From Stubblefield Falls Overlook take the trail connector down to the section of the Potomac Heritage Trail, which runs through the preserve. Depending on the height of the river, there is a section of rock scrambling that juts out into the Potomac, which provides excellent views of the river.

Continue west on the Potomac Heritage Trail for 0.5 mile until reaching Scott's Run Waterfall. Although there is a tempting pool at the base of the waterfall, and there are often people swimming and wading, it is illegal to swim or wade in the waterfall or river because of the risk of drowning due to underwater hazards in that area. From the waterfall follow signs for the Potomac Heritage Trail heading south for 0.7 mile to a second parking lot. From that parking lot follow the Purple Trail (located up the wooden stairs on the left) back to the first parking lot.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Great river views. Waterfall. Well-maintained trails. Easy to get to.


Can be crowded on weekends. Swimming and wading are prohibited.

Trailhead Elevation

283.00 ft (86.26 m)

Net Elevation Gain

320.00 ft (97.54 m)


Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22102
United States




Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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