Here are 8 great summer hikes in Northern Virginia, with shady trails, cooling water, and relaxing stops nearby, all a ...
Lake Accotink Park in Springfield is the middle child of the Fairfax County lake parks—smaller than popular Burke Lake, not as active as Lake Fairfax, but with a charm all it’s own. The 55-acre lake stretches from a dam at the park’s southern end to marshes and the Accotink Stream Valley to the north. With plentiful free parking and proximity to the beltway, Lake Accotink is a nice spot to spend a day biking, hiking, boating, or just lazing by the water.
We’ll get to all the activities in a minute, but first we want to applaud Lake Accotink Park for it’s high percentage of amusing and retro signage. Funny signs are an obsession of ours, and we are quite fond of these finds. (We are not making light of the dangers, we just love the signs.)
A 4-mile loop trail circles the lake and part of the Accotink stream valley, and is popular with bikers and hikers. If you park near the marina, you can head over the wooden footbridge and up the eastern side of the lake, or cross below the dam and up the west side of the lake. Either way, you’ll be on a wide stonedust path with some steep sections.
If you don’t want to cover the full 4-mile loop, focus on the eastern side of the lake. The trail here is part of the Fairfax Cross County Trail (CCT) and hugs closer to the shore with some nice viewpoints. If you plan to walk the full loop, check the map for the turning point to head south again, and for a path that avoids the Danbury Forest neighborhood. (Bikers will find it easier to pass through the edge of the neighborhood streets.)
If you’re looking for a more relaxing activity, you should not pass up the sparkly awesomeness of the Accotink paddle boats. For only $11.00 you can paddle the lake for an hour in shiny, kitschy comfort ($7.00 per half hour). A less sparkly canoe rents for only $6.00 an hour.
Other family-friendly options include the Lucky Duck 9-hole mini-golf course, picnic areas, and a lake tourboat. The antique carousel is currently closed, but the snack bar is open with soft serve ice cream available. Like all Fairfax County parks, Lake Accotink has special activities and events—Campfire Saturdays combine nighttime nature with campfires and s’mores and there are two more summer concerts this year.
Lake Accotink Park
7500 Accotink Park Road
Springfield, VA 22150
Location Tip: GPS maps will send you to a smaller parking area on Heming Ave. Ours map link shows the larger parking area near the train trestle, dam and marina. Look for the intersection of Accotink Park Road and Highland Street then follow the signs.
What’s your favorite Lake Accotink activity?