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South Run - Mercer Lake Loop Route

Easy/Intermediate
 4.4 (11) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A 4.3-mile lollipop loop hike from South Run Recreation Center around Mercer Lake and return.


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Map Key

4.3

Miles

6.9

KM

Loop

287' 88 m

High

217' 66 m

Low

165' 50 m

Up

165' 50 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (1°)

7%

Max Grade (4°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek

Family Friendly The easy trail is very well maintained. The route is mostly paved and the unpaved section is flat and in very good condition.

Overview

This route provides a nice 4.3-mile lollipop loop route around Mercer Lake. The way is mostly a paved doubletrack path starting at South Run Recreation Center.

Description

The trailhead is located at the gravel parking area on the south side of the building furthest from the South Run Recreation Center Park entrance at the Fairfax County Parkway. The route utilizes the South Run Stream Valley Trail and the Lake Mercer South Loop Trail to complete the loop around the lake.

The trail consists of mostly gentle rolling wooded hills and flats, following a stream bed and encircling Lake Mercer. There are a few steep but short climbs. The trail is mostly paved doubletrack with a few sections being flat and unpaved gravel. The longest climb comes as you approach the dam on the east side of the lake. After crossing the dam, the trail serves as a boundary between townhouses and the woods for a stretch. Most of the trail is shaded with only a few sections open to the sky. The trail is in great shape and makes for a very enjoyable outing.

Flora & Fauna

Mostly deciduous forest. Lots of squirrels, birds, and small mammals. Occasional deer are also present.

Contacts

Shared By:

Victor Stephenson

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 11 votes

#1931

Overall
  4.4 from 11 votes
5 Star
55%
4 Star
27%
3 Star
18%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#52

in Virginia

#1,931

Overall
259 Views Last Month
5,203 Since Sep 20, 2016
Easy/Intermediate

27%
0%
73%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Foggy Lake Mercer on a warm, January day.
Jan 4, 2020 near Burke, VA
South Run Stream Valley Trail: gravel doubletrack ends and paved doubletrack begins.
Oct 12, 2016 near Newington, VA
Trail Intersection: South Run Stream Valley Trail and Lake Mercer (South) Trail at north side of Lake Mercer Dam.
Oct 12, 2016 near Newington, VA
South Run Stream Valley Trail on left. Lake Mercer (South) Trail on right crossing Lake Mercer Dam.
Oct 12, 2016 near Newington, VA
Unpaved section of trail (service road). Trail is in great shape. Easy walking/running.
Sep 20, 2016 near Burke, VA
North & South Mercer Lake Loop Trails intersection. Keep left to follow South Trail. You'll return on the North Trail.
Sep 20, 2016 near Burke, VA

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Check-Ins

May 22, 2020
Wei Wang
Park on Wagon Trail Ln
May 15, 2020
Daytona Rose
Mar 27, 2020
Matthew Palagyi
Saw a beaver and perhaps even a chestnut sided warbler. Parked along Wagon Trail Ln due to the corona shutdown of the recreational facility 4.4mi — 1h 50m
Jan 4, 2020
Mike Calabrese
Hiked this "lollipop loop" on a warm, cloudy January day. It was a great hike! 4.3mi — 1h 30m
Nov 23, 2018
Frank Purcell
A very pleasant walk in the woods. More solitude than we expected, which was more than fine. 4.2mi — 1h 20m
Oct 6, 2018
Michael Jugan
Sep 15, 2018
Christopher Briggs
Nice well maintained trail, friendly people along the way. 4.3mi
Aug 25, 2018
Kristine S
4mi