Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
Just south of Leesburg, Virginia, lies a 725-acre hiking oasis. The Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve feels secluded and quiet even on the busiest of weekends. In 2016, it was designated as a Virginia Treasure. As Loudoun County’s only nature preserve, the land is protected for environmental and cultural resources through a conservation easement with Virginia Outdoors Foundation. These types of easements are important for preserving wildlife and water quality as well as providing outdoor recreational opportunities.
Interesting old farm buildings, springs, and other historic sites can be seen from the trail, but park staff request that visitors refrain from entering the archeological sites, historic sites, nature study areas, and environmental study areas.
The visitors center provides information on these various sites, the flora and fauna at the park, plus events for the public like a weekly children’s storytime. Want to get more involved? Join park staff on the third Saturday of each month for the designated Volunteer Day to help maintain trails, remove invasive plants, restore native plants, and more.
An abundance of hiking trails criss-cross through the preserve. They are well-marked, but hikers should keep their eyes on the trail blazes (those colored marks on trees that designate the correct path) to stay on their desired trail. That may be hard to do if you’re also admiring the profusion of wildflowers along the way. Dogs are allowed but horses and bicycles are not. Ticks can be an issue, so bug spray or protective clothing are recommended.
A small fishing pond provides time for quiet reflection so grab a pole and try your cast for catfish and blue gill (license required).