Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
I found a list of nature areas in Loudoun County (VA) recently and decided I wanted to visit them all. There are 27 listed although some are just trails (W&OD or Appalachian Trail). So far I have like 12 or 13 of them crossed off my list. A couple don’t seem to actually be ‘places’ so it may be hard to visit them. Yesterday, I crossed Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve off my list.
As I said a couple weeks ago, I’m still trying to finish my 52 Hike Challenge. I now have just 10 left. Yesterday didn’t go as planned but I still made it to the trail. It was fairly comical. I attempted to drive to the Preserve but both entrances are under construction. They both had ‘road closed’ signs. As I drove down one road there was a small parking lot with a trail sign. I figured I could reach it via this trail so I parked. I started walking. There was no path. I walked back to my car. I brought up the website and it said that I may need to use an alternate entrance due to the construction. So I drove 15 minutes to the other road. No entrance. I was frustrated by this point and drove back to the other entrance and small parking lot. I saw a guy putting his bike away so I parked again. I asked him about the trails. He suggested I drive past the signs, through the construction site, and park and find the trails. “Be a rebel!” he said. So I decided to risk it. I drove past the Road Closed sign and through the construction site. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for being such a ‘rebel’. I turned onto the road where the entrance was supposed to be. I thought to myself, “Wow! I’m going to have the place to myself!” And then I saw another car coming down the road.
I went through the entrance and passed a few people walking on the road. And then I found the Visitor Center and there were a bunch of cars. Apparently you could turn down the road where the sign is… I just didn’t realize it. I no longer felt like a rebel. Sigh. Also, I wouldn’t be alone. Oh well.
I grabbed a trail map and tried to locate any trails with water. I have come to realize that when I hike near water I am happiest. It is calming to me. I first came upon a small pond. It was cute. It wasn’t anything special but I took a few moments to stand on a small piece of dock and listen to the birds. It was peaceful. I continued on down the trail. At first, it was pretty unremarkable. It was weedy and bushy. Because we have hardly had any rain over the last couple of months much of those weeds and plants looked dead. Not exactly pretty.
As I walked I did end up passing a handful of people. The preserve is actually pretty big. I only walked a small part of it so even if you do pass people, you won’t see them for long. And if you do, just take a turn onto a new trail. There are many. It would be pretty easy to get lost if you didn’t have a map because of this.
I walked a trail called, “Lookout Rock”. Well, there isn’t much of a lookout. You basically gaze down on Goose Creek. However, after this portion you start moving into more of a woodsy area and the trail improves quite a bit. I really wanted to get down to the creek. I thought it would be nice to sit next to it and listen to the birds. When I finally got to the opening for that I found three teenagers being idiots. I couldn’t tell exactly what their game plan was but it seemed to be jumping on fallen branches, smashing rocks, yelling, and being disrespectful to nature. I didn’t feel comfortable saying anything to them. I was definitely outnumbered and no one else was around. Needless to say, I never got a moment to enjoy the creek. Even if I had walked down there and found a spot, they were so loud I couldn’t have heard the birds.
I continued on back up the path which eventually lead me back to the Visitors Center. The trails I chose gave me 2.5 miles through the preserve. I can’t say that I saw anything spectacular beyond maybe an owl that fly by but the woods were too thick to really see anything but a wing. I do think the place would be very pretty in the fall so I’ll make a return trip soon to check out the colors and explore a different part of the preserve. It is open only on Saturday and Sundays from 8 am – 4 pm.
Posted on September 26, 2016, in 52 Hike Challenge, Virginia Hiking and tagged 52 Hike Challenge, Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, Hiking, Nature, Trails, Virginia. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.