Mason Neck State Park Hiking Review
- Historical Value
- Trail Markers
Mason Neck State Park is a great all around hiking experience. I was impressed with the views and length of the trails when combined. Plan on spending a day when hiking this area and bring a camera because you'll get a lot of nice shots along the water trails.
Mason Neck State Park
7301 High Point Road
Lorton, VA 22079
8am – Sundown
Mason Neck State Park is located at 7301 High Point Road in Lorton, VA. There is a $5.00 park entrance fee. The park is managed by the Virginia State Parks and is made up of 2,227 acres of forest and marshes and there are about 4 miles of hiking trails.
The history of Mason Neck State Park goes back to 1608 when Captain John Smith was exploring the area and documenting his findings. The land is surrounded by The Potomac and Occoquan Rivers. As he explored the area, he found settlements of Dogue Indians along the river and bays. Captain Smith wrote about how much wildlife he found in the area. In the late 1600s, the Dogue Indians were driven out of the area by colonials that began settling in the area and creating plantations. The area was named Mason’s Neck at this time. The name referenced George Mason II and his sons who settled and lived in the area.
Elizabeth Hartwell is best known as a local resident that opposed a planned community and airport on Mason Neck. She worked very hard to preserve the area for Bald Eagle. On February 1, 1969, her hard work paid off and the first national wildlife refuge for bald eagles opened on Mason Neck. In 1969, the bald eagle was on the endangered species list with less than 500 nesting pairs left in the United States.
Today, this is a great area for bald eagle watching. Part of Mason Neck is now called the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge. It has it’s own trail system and I’m going to hike this on another day and write up a review for the area. Stay tuned!
All of the trails are shorter in length and are flat in nature. They are well maintained, wide and navigation is very good. The majority of these trails are easy and you are in and out of the woods during most of your hike. I hiked this area in June after a major storm system came through and expected to flood but I didn’t see much. I enjoyed the days I’ve hiked here and will be back.
Mason Neck State Park Hiking Trails Include:
- Bay View Trail (1.02 Miles) Red Blaze
- Beach Trail (0.3 Miles) Green Blaze
- Dogue Trail (0.9 Miles) Orange Blaze
- Eagle Spur Trail (1.29 Miles) White Blaze
- High Point Multi-Use Trail (3 Miles)
- Kane’s Creek Trail (1.19 Miles) Blue Blaze
- Wilson Spring Trail (0.48 Miles) Yellow Blaze
- Meadow View Trail (1.30 Miles) Purple Blaze
- Marsh View Trail (0.25) Maroon Blaze
In the summer months, it’s a very dense area for wildlife. I saw a number of birds including bald eagle while hiking here but that was about all I saw. The park hosts 211 bird species, over 200 plant species, 31 mammal species and 40 species of reptiles and amphibians. Here is a list of possible wildlife you might see while visiting the park:
- Bald Eagle
- Whitetail Deer
- Northern Copperhead
- Northern Black Racer
The hiking trails go through forest, wetlands, open water areas (Belmont Bay & Occoquan Bay), ponds and open fields. I was impressed as I’ve hiked a lot in Florida when I lived there. Some points on the Mason Neck State Park trails reminded me of the Florida swamps. I found myself looking out for gators knowing there weren’t any. My brain is programmed for these reptiles I suppose as I constantly ran into them on trails down there. I found the trails to be wide, clean and very easy to navigate. If you want some good pictures, make sure to hike off-trail towards the beach areas and you’ll find some good views of the bay. I hiked this area on a Saturday and there were a number of people out hiking as well as kayakers coming ashore to take in the views.
Mason Neck State Park is a great park that offers many trails for hiking. It’s great for families and anyone who likes to photograph while out hiking. I got a lot of good pictures on my hike in September and in June.
Mason Neck State Park Hiking Suggestions
- Bring water (I use my Camelbak)
- Wear good hiking boots or shoes
- A camera
- Bug spray