Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve

Alexandria, VA

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve along the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Alexandria, VA is a favorite location of ours to see bald eagles, osprey and barred owls. In 2021 we were fortunate to spot nesting bald eagles with young and a family of barred owls within easy view.

The 3/4-mile Haul Road trail through Dyke Marsh is a combination of pea gravel, dirt and wooden boardwalk all of which is level. That being said, we try to go when it has been dry or a few days after rain or snow as it can get quite muddy. The trail culminates at a raised platform with benches overlooking the Potomac and a short boardwalk extension. via the trail or by kayak on the Potomac River.

There is an accessible parking spot right at the Haul Road Trailhead, with additional accessible parking in the Mt Vernon Trail parking lot about 100 meters away. The Belle Haven Picnic Area and Belle Haven Marina Inc – Mariner Sailing School (where you can rent a kayak to explore) are all within short walking distances to the Dyke Marsh Trailhead.

A 485-acre freshwater tidal wetlands managed by the National Park Service, Dyke Marsh can be explored via the trail or by kayak on the Potomac River. There is an accessible parking spot right at the Haul Road Trailhead, with additional accessible parking in the Mt Vernon Trail parking lot about 100 meters away. The Belle Haven Picnic Area and Belle Haven Marina Inc – Mariner Sailing School (where you can rent a kayak to explore) are all within short walking distances to the Dyke Marsh Trailhead.

It’s important to note that, the Belle Haven Marina was not wheelchair accessible. The rental office was up steps in a permanent trailer type structure. The kayak launch is also a steep ramp down into the water. With that said, the staff was extremely helpful and assisted with rental payment and getting us in and out of the water from the kayak (we did a tandem kayak). They also secured Maggie’s wheelchair in a safe location while we were out exploring.

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is a hidden gem in the Washington, D.C. area, and we hope you give it a visit if you’re in the area!

Until next time,

Maggie & Abe

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