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Springtime on the Potomac Heritage Trail: A Wildflower Hike at Turkey Run Park (Smithsonian Associates)

April 11, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 1:30 pm EDT

$45 – $55


Discover the spring splendors of the Potomac Gorge, a 1,900-acre natural area spanning Maryland and Virginia, and one of the most geologically diverse places on Earth. Hiking north from Turkey Run Park along the Potomac Heritage Trail, experience the contrasting terrains of the more gentle, terraced landscape in Maryland and the steeper, dissected area in Virginia.

Trek along one of the most scenic sections of the Potomac River on a wilderness adventure inside the Beltway as you admire lush upland forests and floodplains brilliantly decorated by Virginia bluebells. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for great blue herons and other native fauna found in the temporary pools and side channels.

Study leader Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a naturalist and author of several Washington-area nature books, has spent a year exploring the Potomac Gorge from Great Falls to Theodore Roosevelt Island for a forthcoming book, and this trek covers one of her favorite sections of the gorge. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the adventure.

Know Before You Go

  • Tour participants meet at on site at Parking Lot C in Turkey Run Park (the first parking lot from George Washington Memorial Parkway).
  • Additional information is emailed two weeks prior to the tour.
  • While the hike includes mostly flat terrain, tour participants must be in good physical condition. The route includes a long flight of well-engineered wooden steps descending into the gorge and back up, plus a stream crossing on stepping stones. Total hike distance is 2–2.5 miles, and many stops are made en route.
  • Lunch is not included; please pack your own food to enjoy while on the trail.
  • The tour is limited to 20 participants.

Additional Date Options for this Tour

May We Suggest

If you are interested in this tour, check out A Journey Through the Potomac Gorge program on Wednesday, March 29, 12 p.m. ET on Zoom.

General Information



April 11, 2023
10:00 am - 1:30 pm EDT
$45 – $55


Turkey Run Park
(first parking lot from Park's George Washington Memorial Parkway exit)
McLean, VA 22101 United States


Smithsonian Associates
View Organizer Website