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Springtime on the Potomac Heritage Trail: A Wildflower Hike at Turkey Run Park

In-Person Program

Morning Tour

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1CWA18
Tour meets on site at Parking Lot C in
Turkey Run Park (first parking lot from Park's
George Washington Memorial Parkway exit)
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Yellow trout-lily, Erythronium americanum (Photo: Melanie Choukas-Bradley)

Discover the spring splendors of the Potomac Gorge, a 1,900-acre natural area spanning Maryland and Virginia that is one of the most botanically diverse places in North America. Hike north from Turkey Run Park along the Potomac Heritage Trail on a wilderness adventure inside the Beltway as you admire lush upland forests and floodplains brilliantly decorated by Virginia bluebells and other spring ephemeral wildflowers. Keep an eye out for great blue herons and other native fauna in the temporary pools and side channels and in the Potomac River itself. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the adventure.

Study leader Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a naturalist and the author of six regional nature books, has explored the Potomac Gorge from Great Falls to Theodore Roosevelt Island for a forthcoming book, and this trek covers one of her favorite sections.

Know Before You Go

  • Tour participants meet 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.
  • The tour is limited to 20 participants.
  • NOTE: 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. The use of trekking poles or a walking stick is encouraged. The total hike distance is between 2 and 2.5 miles, and many stops are made en route.
  • Lunch is not included; please pack water and your own food to enjoy while on the trail or after the hike.   

Additional Date Options for this Tour

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Monday, April 1, 2024.
  • Smithsonian Associates is a mask-friendly environment. Please feel free to bring and wear a mask at any time during a tour, both for your safety or the safety of others.
  • For additional tour information: