Hiking Along the Potomac River on the White Trail in Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park in Northern Vigrinia

by | Feb 5, 2017 | National Parks and Public Lands, Outdoor Recreation

For Hike 3 of the 52 Hike Challenge, Hubs and I set off to explore the Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park. The park is located along the Potomac River in Leesburg, Virginia. I learned about this park while researching hiking trails for this challenge in Northern Virginia. Until that time, I had never even heard of the Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park! We ended up loving our visit and plan on returning with our dog soon. For Hike 3, we followed the White Trail and did some wandering along the shore for a total of 1.61 miles hiked.

Getting to Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park is easily accessible from both Highway 15 and Route 7 in Leesburg. If you are driving on Route 7, turn north on Rock Creek Parkway. Follow the road until it curves and heads west. The park will be on the right side of the road near some old buildings (see pictures below). If you are driving Highway 15, turn east on Edwards Ferry Road. Follow the road until you see the park on the left side of the road. Drive through the metal gates to enter the park. While there is ample parking in the gravel lot, please note that there is a private residence withing the park boundaries. So, be sure to not park in front of their driveway.

Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

History of Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park was once owned by Charles Paxton. Mr. Paxton was a wealthy and purchased over 2,000 acres of Potomac River waterfront property in 1869. A gentleman farmer, Mr. Paxton oversaw the construction of the large (for the time period) buildings that are now part of the park. The 67-acre park was donated by Frances Speek to the NorthernVirginiaa Regional Park Authority in 1978.

From the parking lot, you will see several the ruins of several of the buildings that Charles Paxton build. Each building has an educational placard next to it allowing visitors to read about the building. I’ve included several pictures of these buildings below:

Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

Hiking the White Trail

We chose to hike the White Trail as it looped around the perimeter of the park. The loop intersects with several other park trails at their starting and ending points. The White Trail loop also gives hikers the most views of the Potomac River. For the most part, the trail is fairly flat and easy. However, there are many fallen tree and exposed root obstacles along the route. The White Trail also has one steep and several smaller ravine crossings. The park is also dog-friendly (lease laws apply).

 

Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

Exploring the White Trail Spur

At the far western side corner of the White Trail, there is a spur trail you can take down to the edge of the Potomac River. There is a fairly well-marked path or you can go down the edge (a smaller path). We skirted down the edge on the way down and took that path on the way back up. Take the path. Trust me.

Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

52 Hike Challenge Update

Upon completion of Hike 3, my 52 Hike Challenge statistics are:

  • 3/52 hikes completed
  • 5.73 miles hiked
  • 3 unique hike locations
  • 1 solo hike
  • 2 companion hikes

You can learn more about the 52 Hike Challenge by visiting the official website.

By Sara Beth

Sara Beth is a wanderlust soul who is focused on simplistic and mindful living. She is passionate about National Parks, road trips, and board games. Her early years were spent in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. After graduating from university, she moved to Las Vegas, fell in love, and adopted a dog. Today, she lives with her husband and their dog in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

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