A Hidden Treasure
For years I had driven past Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park on the back-way to the Leesburg Costco and with each trip, I made a mental note to stop someday and check it out. Little did I know that here was a hidden treasure of trails waiting to be explored.
While watching Pablo for a few days we decided very spur of the moment to go for a hike, one of his favorite activities. Since we wanted to keep it local, we landed on Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park. A quick internet search showed us it has a few trail options and we decided on a 1.7-mile loop with beautiful views of the Potomac River.
Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park
Tucked away in the middle of suburbia, Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park is located in Leesburg, VA approximately 35 miles west of the nation’s capital. It’s home to 67 acres with hiking trails and beautiful panoramic views of the Potomac River. With a variety of trail distances and difficulty levels, the park is suitable for everyone.
The Ruins at Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Park
In 1869 Pennsylvania industrialist Charles Paxton purchased 2,000 acres in Loudoun County, Virginia. Once a successful businessman in the iron industry, he turned gentleman farmer after purchasing property in Virginia. The ruins at Red Rock Wilderness Overlook are remnants from the farm; the mansion he and his wife Rachel called home can be found a few miles away at Carlheim Estate.
In 1978, subsequent owner Frances Speek donated 67 acres of the property to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority which in turn became this beautiful mostly wooded escape for nature lovers.
Before starting our hike we wandered around the ruins surrounding the parking lot learning a little about the farm that had once occupied the area.
Starting Our Hike
We stopped by the trail map to double check our planned route, confirmed our plans and headed toward the trail head just beyond the sign. It was 42° and sunny; however, rain the previous day had made the trails a muddy mess. Fortunately, though, once we got deeper into the forest, the trails were leaf-covered and mud gave way to packed dirt and more sure footing.
First view of the Potomac River…
Pablo had lots of fun jumping onto and across logs…
And he loved running any chance he could get…
Despite telling myself I wouldn’t run for a while after experiencing a calf issue a few days earlier, I couldn’t resist running whenever the urge hit the little pooch. The trails were soft and I felt no calf pain.
Another great panoramic view of the Potomac River…
Making our way back toward the parking lot…
We finished the 1.7-mile hike with an average pace of 18.49, thanks to some thrown in running with our little buddy.
- • Blue Trail – .035 mile
- • Green Trail – .1 mile
- • Orange Trail – .17 mile
- • Potomac Heritage Trail – .07 mile
- • Potomac Heritage Trail / White Trail – 1.1 miles
- • Red Trail – .2 mile
- • Unmarked – .33 mile
- • White Trail – .08 mile
- • Yellow Trail – .28 mile
Final Thoughts on Red Rock Wilderness Overlook
There is no charge to get into the park, making Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park a great option for a fun outdoor activity during the pandemic. With many trail distances to choose from, there’s something for everyone, even the youngest hikers.
- • Have you visited any of Northern Virginia’s Regional Parks?
- • If so, which were your favorites?
- • What parks near where you live do you recommend?