Trips and Tips

Featured Events This Week


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C&O Canal Four Locks Stroll and Pedal
Two separate programs will be taking place; you are welcome to attend both. At 10:00 am join a ranger to discover the vibrant community that formed at Four Locks by the economic activity of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The tour is approximately 1.5 hours and will cover less than one mile. At 1:00 pm ride with a ranger for a relaxed pace bicycle ride through the historic canal community of Four Locks The group will proceed upstream past McCoy's Ferry to Big Pool, with a goal of a round trip of 16 miles. No reservations required. Free. Oct. 19, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park. More details.

Catoctin Mountain Park Fall Nature Walks
Join a ranger for a one-hour walk to discover the changing colors of autumn. Discuss why leaves change colors, what a tree does during winter, and more! On Oct. 12 depart from Thurmont Vista, on Oct. 19 depart from Hog Rock, and on Oct. 26 from the Chestnut Picnic area). Free, with no reservations needed. 11:00 am to 12:00 pm; Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont. More details.

U.S. Oyster Festival
Enjoy sampling a huge variety of oysters, watch the National Oyster Shucking Contest and the oyster cookoff.
The U.S. National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest®, held both days of the St. Mary’s Oyster Festival, features the fastest men and women shuckers representing ten states and the fastest local tidewater shuckers. This year’s cookoff will feature recipes for hors d’oeuvres, soups and stews, and main dishes. Samples will be distributed to the audience while judging commences. Local oyster growers are offering their finest freshly-shucked oysters for your enjoyment. $10; children under 12 free. Be sure to stop by to say howdy to the National Park Services Roving Ranger! Oct. 19. 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Oct. 20, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; Leonardtown. More information.

Greenbelt Park Fall Colors Trail Walk
Join a park ranger on a fall colors walk on the Azalea Trail, which is 1.2 miles long. The walk is free, but please reserve by calling Ranger Barry at 301-344-3948. Oct. 20, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm; Greenbelt National Park, Greenbelt. More details.

Outdoor Photography
Join Royce Ball, Pickering Creek’s “unofficial photographer” to learn all about nature photography and capturing the perfect outdoor images. The class is open to professional and amateur photographers alike and to anyone with a camera or camera phone! Join us as we wander through wetlands & meander through meadows to find inspiration in the changing season. $20 per person. Oct. 26, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm; Pickering Creek Audubon, Easton. More details.

Great Falls Gold Mine Trail
Join the Sierra Club for a moderate hike on the Maryland side of Great Falls begins with the less-known Ford Mine Loop. After touring the visitor center area, we'll take the (optional) second loop on the Gold Mine Spur and Loop trails. Along the way, we'll see remains of ore processing works, exploratory pits, closed entrances to underground mines, and trenches. Some trenches were probably dug by Union soldiers guarding the area during the Civil War. A few of them, exploring off duty, found enough gold to trigger mining efforts that continued into the 1940s. National Park entrance fee ($15 per car; $7 for those who walk or bike in), car pooling can be arranged. Nov. 2, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park, Potomac. More details and sign up.

Tails on Trails
Celebrate Halloween with your furry friend in Piscataway Park! This is the fall day on the farm your pup has always dreamed of. You and your dog can partake in classic fall activities like hayrides, trick-or-treating, and snacking on pumpkin flavored everything. Tails on Trails also features a canine costume contest, so make sure Fido comes dressed to impress! $5/dog (humans get in for free). Oct. 19, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; Piscataway Park, Accokeek. More information.


Fall Farm Days at Sky Meadows
During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings and interact with our living historians, watch the blacksmiths at work at the forge and take a tour of Mount Bleak House to hear the stories of those who called it home. Stop by and watch the Fauquier County Quilters construct beautiful quilts in the Wash House. Lastly, follow your nose to the Log Cabin and see what Sky Meadows' pumpkin and corn treats are being cooked over the hearth. In addition to history-themed programs, we also offer a children's play area, live music (Evergreen Shade on Saturday, Dr. Banjo on Sunday), delicious food and drinks for sale, and, of course, the pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Free and open to all ages. Oct. 26-27, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm; Delaplane. More details.

Hike Through History… Signal Knob Interpretive Hike
Join a National Park Service Ranger at the top of Signal Knob to see the expansive Shenandoah Valley landscape and learn about its role in the Battle of Cedar Creek. Confederate officers used Signal Knob as an observation point to plan their surprise attack on unsuspecting Union troops during the Battle of Cedar Creek in October of 1864. Thus the mountain became an iconic feature of the battlefield landscape. Hikers will have the choice of two hiking routes to reach Signal Knob, one is 11.5 miles round trips and the other is 8.5 miles round trip. Oct. 19, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historic Park, Middleton. More details.

Wolf Trap Fall Foliage Hike
Join a ranger this fall for a guided hike on the Wolf Trap Trail, and see the woods of Wolf Trap like you've never seen them before! These 90-minute, 2.5 mile roundtrip hikes offer participants unique perspectives into Virginia forest ecology, the science behind changing leaf colors, and general history of the park. Hikes will begin at the Ranger Station, located to the left of the Main Gate of the Filene Center. Free. Oct. 19, 10:00 am to 11:30 am; Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Vienna. More details.

Huntley Meadows Twilight Boardwalk Stroll
Join a park naturalist for a guided walk along the forested paths to the wetland and experience Huntley Meadows Park as it transitions from day into night. (6-Adult) Watch and listen for beavers, owls and other nocturnal residents. The program runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Ages 6 to adult; $9 per person. Oct. 19, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm; Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria. More details.


Georgetown Walking Tours
Join a park ranger for an hour long walk along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Georgetown. Explore the rich canal history, discover stories and mysteries hidden in the stones, and hear about the lives of "canawlers" all while enjoying a leisurely stroll.  Free; no reservations required. Oct. 19 and 26, 11:00 am and 2:30 pm departures. More details.

October 10, 2019

Main image: Autumn trail in Pocahontas State Park, photo courtesy Virginia State Parks
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