Leesylvania State Park spring 2011

Daffodils

I can’t remember the last time I went hiking, it certainly would have to be in the fall of 2010.  If I can’t remember the last time, I know I needed to get out and I have been itching for months now.  I tried to hike Seashore State Park in Delaware over the long New Years Even weekend but my hangover killed that idea real quick.  Now that spring is coming my opportunities to hike are getting better as the weather turns warmer.

On Saturday after my biology lab, I decided to hike Leesylvania State Park.  A friend fishes here regularly and talks often about it so it was about time I check the place out.  It was suppose to be a fair weather day, no rain and good temps.  Class was going to be short so I would have plenty of time to get a good hike in before getting ready for a wine tasting at Rob’s house later that night.

Looking at a map the park is rather small and doesn’t offer many trails of any significant length.  For the first trail I decided on the Lee’s Wood Trail at just over 2 miles and an adjoining loop trail.  On arriving at the park it certainly is a multi-use park with plenty of picnic areas, camping, a boat launch with access to the Potomac River, fishing pier and miles of shoreline.  You can even bring your dog for a lazy afternoon at the park.

Fairfax house

My hike started at Freestone Point which during the Civil War had a small two gun Confederate battery protecting the Potomac and blocking access to Washington DC.  The forest has started to reclaim the point but you can clearly see the outline of the trenches and the commanding view of the Potomac it offered from this little point.  From here it was onto the 2 mile Lee’s Wood Trail.  This trail wonders around the forest hitting many architectural landmarks.  Unfortunately most of the ruins are denoted only by placards.  The largest ruin is a chimney from the old Fairfax house and an outline of its foundation.  There is also a small cemetery and old garden at the Lee ruins.  You can see where the old train tracks cut through the forest before the modern, and straighter, train tracks were laid.

Once I reached the farthest point on the trail, the cemetery, I decided to do a little adventuring on my own.  There is a clearly defined trial that took you to the next ridge, from here it goes down into the valley and towards the beach.  I am not really sure if the beach is technically part of the park, but it was a fun little excursion off the beaten path.  I stumbled on about a dozen deer while I was climbing down the hill but in my clumsiness I made to much noise and scared them all off before I could get a photo.

After my little adventure I got back on the trail and headed back to Freestone Point to enjoy a little lunch and gaze across the Potomac.  The trail was rather easy, wide, and well maintained.  The views offered are nothing spectacular but I think where this trail shines is its historic value.  It is certainly a good family hike where the whole family can learn a little about early life in Virginia.  I can’t see making this a regular spot to hike, but I wouldn’t mind checking out the Powell’s Creek and Potomac Heritage trails.  Just might have to stop by for a quick hike to relax and clear my head after biology lab.