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. You can even combine your visit to Burke Lake with a scenic drive in Fairfax County.
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. Family, group, and wilderness campsites are available and you can reserve your site online.
Burke Lake Park offers accessible fishing platforms and trails, so it’s a great destination for people with limited mobility or families with strollers. The 218-acre lake has some of the best Largemouth Bass fishing in the region and also features Walleye, Muskie, Catfish, Black Crappie, Yellow and White Perch, and more.
Hike or Bike the Burke Lake Park Loop Trail
If you’re up for an active visit, take 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 you will often see adults and teens running the trail. The wide dirt and crushed stone pathway is also a great option for families with bikes.
Watch for wildlife along the trail. On one visit we spied balancing turtles, swimming ducks, grazing deer, and one hunchbacked raccoon ambling across the path in front of us.
The shady trail hugs the shoreline, breaking into the sun as it passes over a dam. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches along the way to stop and enjoy views of the lake. Marked fitness stations, an orienteering section, and a nature trail add extra fun to your hike.
After winter snow, visitors can navigate their way around Burke Lake on cross-country skis, boots, and snowshoes. A small hill near the golf course offers a short sledding run with parking close by.
Family Fun at Burke Lake Park
If you have little ones along for a summer visit, you should definitely make time for a train ride. The miniature Central Pacific Huntington steam engine travels 1.75 miles on a trail through the woods. A ride is only $3.00 on weekdays, $4.00 on the weekend, free for age 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. If the weather is hot, plan to visit in the morning before it gets too steamy. Better yet, rent a campsite and you can enjoy sunrise or sunset over the lake.
Burke Lake is at 7315 Ox Road in Fairfax Station Virginia. Admission is free to Fairfax County residents and on weekdays but there is a $10 non-resident fee on weekends.
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This article was published in 2014 and updated in 2020.