Here are 8 great summer hikes in Northern Virginia, with shady trails, cooling water, and relaxing stops nearby, all a ...
A trip around Burke Lake Park demonstrates that this Northern Virginia gem supports many active and relaxing pursuits, and is a fun year-round destination. We love the peace of boating on Burke Lake, but there are a lot of other options if you don’t want to get out on the water.
Visitors will find something fun for every age group and activity level—hike, run, ride the train or the carousel, play mini-golf or disc golf, fish, or just relax with a picnic. There are accessible fishing platforms and trails, so it’s a great destination for people with limited mobility or families with strollers.
If you’re up for an active visit, we recommend a walk or run around Burke Lake on the 5 mile fitness trail that circles the lake. Portions of the trail are used for high school cross country meets, and we saw plenty of adults and teens running the trail on our visit. The wide dirt and crushed stone pathway is also a great option for families with bikes. We took it slower and spied balancing turtles, swimming ducks, grazing deer and one hunchbacked raccoon ambling across the path in front of us.
The trail hugs the shoreline and is shaded except when you pass over the dam. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches along the way to stop and enjoy views of the lake. There are also marked fitness stations, an orienteering section, and a nature trail.
After a winter snow, visitors navigate their way around Burke Lake on cross-country skis, boots, and snowshoes, and a hill near the golf course offers a short sledding run.
If you have little ones along for a summer visit, you should definitely make time for a train ride—1.75 miles on the miniature Central Pacific Huntington steam engine is only $2.50 (free for 2 and under).
A small carousel, seasonal ice cream parlor, and mini-golf provide other kid-friendly fun. Older kids and teens could try their skill on the disc golf course.
One of the only summer activities you can’t do around Burke Lake is swim, so if the weather is hot plan to visit in the morning before it gets too steamy.
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