Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Morning Hike - Seneca Tract, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

In late November I had three hours to kill one saturday and decided to test out some new hiking gear and enjoy the Fall leaves before the Winter weather rolled in.  About a 20 minute drive from the house is a trail head (Seneca Tract) for the Potomac River Heritage National Scenic Trail.  This tract borders some BIG houses in Great Falls, VA.  It is an easy hike to be sure with little bits of elevation changes here and there and is used by a lot of folks - especially on weekends.  Dog owners love it as there is a lot of areas for pets to roam and not get in trouble with wildlife or deadfalls.  It is also a favorite with several horse owners for the trail is well maintained with little to no underbrush and firm trail footing.

Once you get past the Seneca Tract area and get on the Heritage Trail it gets a bit more rugged as the trail is now at the mercy of the Potomac River flood plain.  This portion has a lot of fun little areas with little bits of the old canal system that George Washington tried to create shortly before his death in the late 18th century.  All-in-all a nice little outing and good gear "shake out" for some Spring hiking on the big trails.
Easy walking but pretty scenery.
The area I hiked.  Easy access from the parking lot to the trail - very kid and pet friendly.
Large map of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
Trail blazes to help navigation.
Making my way down elevation away from the Seneca Tract towards the Potomac River.
Feeder creek off of the Potomac.  Still saw lots of little fishes in these waters and with the sun out it got over 55 degrees.
Had some fun climbing up this sucker.
Did not see a lot of wildlife this trip but there were signs everywhere.  Looks like some beaver were definitely at work along the trail.
Coffee break.
View from my coffee perch.  This is the Potomac River (what looks like the far bank is actually a large island).  On the other side of the island is the heart of the river which is several hundred yards wide and very swift.
The remnants of Washington's canal system.
Another shot of the canal.
A plaque off the trail showing Washington's canal as it looked in the 1800's.

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