Open to the Public
Take a self-guided audio tour of the preserve. View All
View preserve guidelines and download a trail map. View All
Why You Should Visit
Fraser Preserve boasts about 110 species of birds, including the bald eagle, and 300 varieties of wildflowers. A short hike offers glimpses of the many natural habitats found in the Piedmont region, including fast, clear streams, lush cold-spring swamp, marsh, mature hardwood forests, open meadow, ponds, river and stream floodplain forests and thickets, steep rocky bluffs, springs and seeps, and various stages of old field succession. The terrain slopes down to the Potomac River, which forms the preserve's northern boundary.
- View preserve guidelines. Note: Dogs are not allowed at any Conservancy preserves.
Daily dawn to dusk
The preserve features approximately 2.25 miles of easy walking trails. Hike options include a large and small loop within the preserve, and you can extend your hike by continuing beyond the preserve's eastern and western boundaries onto connecting public trails maintained by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The preserve shares land with a church camp, so please be respectful of their facilities. There are no bathrooms designated for the preserve.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Fraser Preserve was acquired in 1975 as a gift from Mrs. George (Bernice) Fraser. Originally inhabited by members of the Anacostan, Piscataway and Tauxenent tribes, the bottomlands along Fraser's river border have yielded many arrowheads, pottery shards and stone weirs (dams used in taking fish from the Potomac). American University extensively studies these historic sites, and numerous artifacts are displayed in their museum.
The area now known as Fraser Preserve was once part of a tract of 5 million acres granted by King Charles I in 1649 to seven nobleman friends. In 1710, the land was passed on to the Fairfax family and eventually to Thomas Lee, the first of the famous Virginia Lees. Wheat farming prevailed in the area from about 1790 to 1840, and the tract likely was farmed until agriculture began to decline in Fairfax County following World War I.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Mrs. Fraser also donated a small in-holding within the preserve to the Calvary Baptist Church. The Conservancy and the Calvary Baptist Church share the common goal of maintaining Fraser Preserve in its natural state and for the enjoyment of visitors.
What to See: Animals
Among the mammals known to live here are the mole, Eastern chipmunk, gray squirrel, woodchuck, skunk, raccoon, white-tailed deer, fox, and beaver.
Fraser's many amphibian species include the Southern leopard frog, spring peeper, gray tree frog, American toad, two-lined salamander and Northern red-backed salamander.
About 110 bird species, including 39 nesting species and the bald eagle, have been documented at Fraser. Among the nesting birds are the red-shouldered hawk, ruby-throated hummingbird, downy woodpecker, scarlet tanager and blue-gray gnatcatcher.
What to See: Plants
The tremendous variety of wildflowers at Fraser may be directly attributed to its diverse habitats. About 300 species of wildflowers have been identified in the preserve. Of special interest are the following unusual or rare species: purple cress, marsh marigold, purple fringeless orchis, false (white) hellebore and poison hemlock.
Download an Audio Tour
Planning a visit to Fraser Preserve? Before your trip, download our self-guided audio tour to your handheld device. It's like having a naturalist in your pocket!
- Step 1: Download the Fraser Preserve audio tour map. The numbers marked on the map correspond to the audio files in the tour. This map will help identify which audio tracks to play based on your location on the trail, so make sure to take a copy with you on your trip.
- Step 2: Download and save the mp3 audio files to your handheld device. Play the corresponding track when you reach a waypoint along the trail. Listen to them all or pick & choose based on your interests! Need a little help saving the files? Check out our step-by-step guide!
MEET YOUR GUIDE
Deborah Landau, Ph.D. is the Conservation Ecologist for the Conservancy's Maryland/DC chapter. An entomologist by training, she oversees the ecological management and restoration of the chapter’s 30 preserves. On her long drives to the field, she enjoys stopping at gas stations along the way and scanning the walls for giant silk moths in the early hours of the morning.
Downloadable Files (mp3 format)
2. At the Gate
5. Large Fence
6. Info Sign
7. Canopy Gap
8. Tulip Poplar
10. Paw Paw
12. Government Road
14. Japanese Hops
15. Poison Hemlock
18. Vernal Pool
Download a trail map of Fraser Preserve.
Go on a treasure hunt with your family at Fraser Preserve! What will you find?
From Interstate 495:
- Take Georgetown Pike (Route 193) approximately six miles to Springvale Road (Route 674)
- Turn right on Route 674 and continue to the intersection with Route 603 (look for a restaurant - Chez Francais - on your left.)
- Turn left onto Route 603 for about 20 yards, then turn right on Route 755.
- Continue for about a half-mile to the preserve entrance, which is gated. The road into the parking lot serves both the Conservancy and the Calvary Baptist Church. From the parking lot one path leads east, the other west.
Note about Parking
A gate has been re-installed at the entrance to the gravel road heading into the preserve. Visitors and volunteers should park on Springvale Road, or Allenwood Lane, making sure not to block the road or gate or private driveways to the right of the entrance. The gated gravel entrance road is part of the trail and will add 0.6 miles to your hike.