This hike takes you along the Accotink Creek out to two lookout points in the marshlands surrounding Accotink Bay. Expect to see marsh birds, wildlife such as turtles, deer, and fox, and plenty of beautiful wildflowers and butterflies.
There are no public restrooms.
The hike starts at Fort Belvoir's Tulley Gate Visitors Center Parking lot. Civilian hikers need a visitor's pass from the visitor center and require a driver's license. A 90-day pass is available if you plan to return frequently. On weekends and holidays, visitors must enter through the Lieber Gate.
The trailhead is at the corner of the parking lot and you'll head down the hill to the first right onto the Wetland Trail
. You'll wander through several marsh basins on your way to Poe Road (closed to traffic). Going left on Poe Road takes you to the top of the Accotink Creek Trail
. As I crossed the bridge over the Accotink Creek, I looked down to the creek to see a fox emerge from the weeds and go down to the creek for a drink. He looked up at me and nonchalantly continued drinking.
Not much farther down Poe, you turn left onto the Accotink Creek Trail
and continue along the creek. I saw a man fly fishing in the creek and he said there were bass, catfish, perch, and bluegill to catch. Continue along the creekside trail going past the pedestrian bridge that crosses the creek. Eventually the grassy trail turns to boardwalk and continues to a the first lookout point out in the marsh.
From the"Trail End" sign, turn around and head back to the pedestrian bridge. There is a sandy trail just over the bridge on the right which you follow creekside to the Great Blue Heron Trail
to your second lookout point. The trail continues to another boardwalk which leads out to a small wooden hut in the marsh.
From the hut, turn around and head back to where you started just over the pedestrian bridge and take a right. This leads back up to the parking lot using part of the Beaver Pond Loop Trail
. You could add the full beaver dam loop to your hike if you want to add another 0.5 miles.
You might see eagles, ospreys, and other marsh birds as well as deer, fox ,and lots of turtles resting on logs in the creek. There are beautiful wildflowers along the trails leading out to the lookout points, which attract a lot of butterflies.