Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail Hike in Northern Virginia

Updated on November 7, 2023 by Julie McCool

Hike the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail and enjoy beautiful wetland scenery from an elevated boardwalk in Prince William County, Northern Virginia. The accessible boardwalk winds 3/4 miles over an Occoquan Bay wetland and is part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, an 800-mile trail network.

The boardwalk opened on National Trails Day in 2019 and is part of Neabsco Regional Park and encompasses 300 acres in Prince William County. The larger park includes the boardwalk plus historic Rippon Landing and the Julie J. Metz Neabsco Creek Wetlands Preserve (more info below).

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We are suckers for a nice boardwalk hike, and Neabsco Creek really delivers. The gently curving path guarantees nice views over the marsh, and there are several benches where you can relax. This is an excellent trail for bird-watching, and we saw herons, mallards, and blackbirds during our hike, along with turtles and one giant praying mantis.

Here's a short video introduction to Neabsco Creek Boardwalk:

Find more great trails in 6 Beautiful Boardwalk Hikes in Northern Virginia.

Fall foliage at Neabsco Creek Boardwalk
Fall foliage at Neabsco Creek Boardwalk
Neabsco Creek and Boardwalk Trail
Neabsco Creek and Boardwalk Trail

About the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk

The Neabsco Creek trail is fully ADA-compliant, so it's an excellent hiking option for folks with limited mobility, young children, and strollers. The boardwalk also welcomes leashed dogs, and we saw several enjoying the trail during our visit.

Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail winds over the wetlands in Prince William County Virginia
Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail, Prince William County VA

The boardwalk's design makes it ideal for a relaxed hike in Northern Virginia:

  • The elevated boardwalk is 10 feet wide, with a rail on each side for most of the trail.
  • The wide walkway allows plenty of room for a group walk.
  • The boardwalk is wheelchair and stroller accessible with gentle slopes and level sections.
Boardwalk trail at Neabsco Creek
Neabsco Creek Trail in Woodbridge VA

The Neabsco Creek Boardwalk is very family-friendly and this is a wonderful spot for hiking with kids:

  • The trail crosses the creek several times, and those crossings are perfect for wildlife-watching.
  • Several benches are sprinkled throughout the boardwalk, perfect for bird-watching or just taking a break.
  • Sections close to the ground level often have no rail while higher sections have a rail.
Open platform on Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail
Seating on Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail
Praying mantis on the boardwalk
Praying mantis at Neabsco Creek Boardwalk

There are several special features on the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk to enjoy including platforms at each end of the trail and an observation tower near the midpoint. A two-story platform on the south end of the boardwalk lets you get close to the water, or take in the view from above. The decks here are a nice spot for a picnic or a break.

the South Platform on the Neabsco Boardwalk is a nice picnic spot
South Platform Neabsco Boardwalk
Lower South Platform Neabsco Trail
Lower Platform Neabsco Trail

Follow the spur trail near the boardwalk's midpoint to the two-story observation deck. Here you can take in a broad view of the wetlands. There are trees blocking portions of the view but the tower view is still worth a visit.

Unfortunately, there is no parking near the tower so you'll have to hike in to see the view. The upper level of the tower requires stairs so it is not wheelchair accessible. Scroll down for details on entrances and parking for the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk hike.

View from the Neabsco Boardwalk Observation Tower
Neabsco Observation Tower View

Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail Tips

The rich habitat surrounding the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk make this a beautiful spot for wildlife and bird-watching. Look for Great Blue Herons, Red-wing Blackbirds, Wood Ducks, and the occasional Bald Eagle flying over the wetlands.

The tall grasses surrounding the boardwalk are also home to amphibians and small mammals. Watch for turtles, frogs, and even muskrats that make their home here.

There is no shade over the boardwalk, and the wetlands can be buggy in warmer months. Bring plenty of water, and be prepared with sunscreen and bug spray.

North end of Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail in Northern Virginia
Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail in Northern Virginia

Neabsco Boardwalk Trail Essentials and Parking

Entrance to the Neabsco Boardwalk is free and open from 6:30 to 8:00 daily. There are locked gates at each entrance, so be sure to time you visit. Snowy or icy conditions may lead to closures in winter, so check the park website for alerts after winter snowstorms.

The Neabsco Creek Boardwalk parallels Blackburn Road in Woodbridge VA. There are three free parking lots close to the boardwalk, and all offer free parking:

  • Rippon Landing Park is the primary access point for the boardwalk and is located at 15518 Blackburn Road. The park has a playground, picnic pavilion, and port-o-pottys. A paved, wheelchair-accessible trail leads past the playground to the north end of the boardwalk.
  • Access the south end of the boardwalk from the Neabsco Eagles Park parking lot at 15801 Neabsco Road. Turn right as you enter the park and drive around the corner to the end of the lot. Look for blue signs marking the dirt trail to the boardwalk. This trail is rocky and uneven, so it's not accessible for strollers or wheelchairs.
  • You can also park at the Julie Metz Trailhead to access the south end of the Neabsco Boardwalk. There were no maps when we visited, and a section of the trail was underwater, so we prefer to hike in from Rippon Landing or Eagles Park.

Use this map to plan your route and locate things to do near Neabsco Creek Boardwalk listed above.

More Hikes and Things to Do Near Neabsco Boardwalk

The boardwalk trail is surrounded by scenic parks and historic landmarks, perfect for a day trip from Washington DC (25 miles), Richmond (85 miles), or Charlottesville (91 miles). Combine your visit to the Neabsco Creek Trail with these nearby parks, historic sites, and additional segments of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.

Julie J. Metz Neabsco Creek Wetlands Preserve

A narrow path and boards at the southern end of the boardwalk lead into the Julie Metz Neabsco Creek Wetlands Preserve. Trails through the wetlands are also part of the Potomac Heritage Trail. This is another fantastic area for birding, and waterfowl proliferate here during winter migrations. Note that the Julie Metz Wetlands are often muddy and trails are sometimes flooded.

Leesylvania State Park

From the Metz Wetlands, hikers can continue on the Potomac Heritage Trail to Leesylvania State Park. Alternatively, return to your car and drive 3 miles to Leesylvania Park. The park sits at the edge of the Potomac River and is a popular spot for hiking, fishing, boating, and birding.

We recommend a scenic and interesting Leesylvania State Park Hike Through History on the Lee Woods Trail. Be sure to walk out on the pier where you can stand with one foot in Virginia and another in Maryland. The Leesylvania pier is also one of the best places to watch sunrise in Northern Virginia.

Rippon Lodge Historic Site

From the north end of the boardwalk, follow the paved path to Rippon Landing Park and up the hill to Rippon Lodge Historic Site. Rippon Lodge was a successful plantation built in 1747. Take a guided tour to learn how the lodge and its owners have changed over the years, then explore the grounds, garden, and historic cemetery. There is a nice, shady picnic area where you could stop for lunch.

Rippon Landing Historic Site in Woodbridge Virginia
Rippon Landing Historic Site in Woodbridge Virginia

Occoquan Historic District

When you're ready for lunch or a treat, the lovely, historic town of Occoquan Virginia is just 7 miles away. Here you'll find a walkable downtown where the streets are lined with unique boutiques and tasty restaurants. The small Virginia town sits at the edge of the Occoquan River and offers pretty riverfront parks and an historic footbridge with a great view.

Occoquan Regional Park and Workhouse Arts Center

Just across the river in Fairfax County, about 8 miles away, is the Workhouse Arts Center and Occoquan Regional Park. The Workhouse, once a notorious prison, is now home to artists and galleries and a museum about women's suffrage.

Nearby, Occoquan Regional Park offers boating access to the Occoquan River and a few miles of hiking trails. Here you can also visit the national Turning Point Suffrage Memorial. The memorial tells the story of the long struggle for women's right to vote and the shocking incidents that occurred here. The park's Brickmaker Cafe is one of our favorite spots for casual outdoor dining with a view.

More Places to Hike Near Woodbridge Virginia

Eventually, the Potomac Heritage Trail will connect the boardwalk and Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge to the north. Until that trail segment is complete, drive 5 miles northeast to enjoy 3 miles of trails in the refuge.

Eight miles to the west, Prince William National Forest is another excellent destination for hiking and biking. Plan your visit with our guide to Prince William Forest Park.

Across Occoquan Bay in Fairfax County, about a 25-minute drive from the Neabsco Boardwalk is more excellent hiking at Mason Neck State Park. Plan your visit with our guide to trails and things to do in the park: Mason Neck State Park: Nature and Outdoor Fun in Northern Virginia.

If you love wetlands and boardwalks, be sure to also visit Huntley Meadows Regional Park, one of the hidden gems of Northern Virginia.

Have you visited the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk? Happy hiking!

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Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail near Washington DC
Neabsco Creek Boardwalk