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Leesylvania State Park, VA Day Hikes

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We had 2 short loops for this hike which occured on Saturday, September 1, 2018: The 1.96 mile Lee's Woods Trail and the 1.27 mile Powell's Creek Trail. Participants were Dave McIntyre, Randall Bartlett, Mary Gordon, Nancy and Warren Keithley and Mike Calabrese. In addition, Cub Scout Pack 1373, along with Cub Master Tim Young, his Dad, 4 other parents and 8 cub scouts.

We met at the church parking lot and left at 8:00 AM as usual. We got to the park around 8:27. Waiting for us were 6 parents and 8 kids from Cub Scout Pack 1373 who would be joining us. 20 participants in

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The hike that I led at nearby Neabsco Boardwalk on New Years Day 2020 had the most participants of any hike that I led with this group.

this hike. Wow, that is the most people yet!

So we tackled the Lee's Woods Trail first. We ascended a bluff and saw where there had been cannon placements used by the Conferates during the Civil War to blockade Washington, DC. Next we hiked past the Fairfax House. All that remains there now is a chimney. We next hiked past the sites of 2 different Lee homes, then ended up at the Fairfax/Lee Cemetery.

Now we had a dilema. The cemetery was at the center of a 3 way intersection. One trail said 'Stop 10' and the other said 'Stop 11'. So which way do we go? We tried proceding along the trail marked 'Stop 10' but the trail was closed after about 500 feet. We came back to the cemetery and tried the trail marked 'Stop 11'. We agreed that if this one did not get us back to our vehicles, we would then backtrack the way that we came. Thankfully, this was the correct trail. It led us back to the trail that we had been on earlier. We followed it a short distance, then turned right down the hill and to the end of this hike. We walked along the Potomac River for awhile, then turned off the trail and towards the visitors center.

The scouts left us at this point as 2 miles was enough for them. It was fun hiking with them and interesting in that here you had young kids hiking with older adults and everyone got along fine. We were conversing, laughing and having a great time. One of us remarked that the scouts were very good and didn't complain once about the humidity, the ups or 'are we there yet'.

The rest of us took a short rest room break, visited the visitors center and then drove over to the Powell's Creek Trailhead. This trail was shorter than the Lee's Woods Trail. We had a slight up, then were ridging until we came to a scenic view of the Potomac River. We also hiked on a short stretch of the

Potomac Herritage Trail,

which currently extends from Leesburg, VA to Locust Shade Park near Dumfries, VA. But will hopefully someday stretch from the Laurel Highlands, PA to the Chesapeake Bay, VA. We then took a parallel trail back to our vehicles. This trail had some ups but was pleasant to hike on.

We got back to our vehicles, said our goodbyes and made it back to the church by around 11:15 AM. I was very happy that the rain let up for us to hike. I was also very happy for the great turnout that we had. And I look forward to some nice hikes this fall with my fellow hikers!

Mike C

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A Short History of Leesylvania State Park


At the time of early English settlers, Leesylvania was believed to be the site of an Algonquian village, overlooking Neabsco Creek.

Henry Lee II settled on the land from 1747 until his death in 1787. He and his wife had eight children at their home including Revolutionary War hero Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee. He is also the grandfather to Civil War general Robert E. Lee. George Washington mentions visiting the Lee House three times in his diaries. In 1825 the property was sold to Henry Fairfax, and later passed to John Fairfax in 1847. Fairfax later served as a staff aide to Confederate Lt. General James Longstreet. The site was Fairfax's boyhood home, and he returned to live on the property in late 1875, remaining there until his death in 1908. The land was also used as a small Confederate force and gun emplacement during the Civil War. The Freestone Point

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Confederate Battery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The battery engaged with vessels of the US Navy's Potomac Flotilla on September 25, 1861. There were no casualties on either side, but the Federal vessels withdrew at the conclusion of the fighting. (Ref: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in The War of The Rebellion)

Today, only a small cornerstone of the Lee House remains. The house and its path were completely bulldozed in the 1950s to make way for a road. A restored chimney of the Fairfax House remains. Henry Lee II and his wife, along with Henry Fairfax and his third wife are buried on the property. The sites and the cemetery are accessible by trail. The Leesylvania Archeological Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Return loop on Powell's Creek Trail
  Return loop on Powell's Creek Trail.
   By Mike Calabrese
Scenic view from Powells Creek Trail
  Scenic view from Powell's Creek Trail.
   By Mike Calabrese
At the Powell's Creek Trailhead   At the Powell's Creek Trailhead.
   By Mike Calabrese
Lee Home Site, Lee's Woods Trail   Lee Home Site, Lee's Woods Trail.
   By Mike Calabrese
Leesylvania Plantation, Lee's Woods Trail
  Leesylvania Plantation, Lee's Woods
  Trail.  By Mike Calabrese
Leesylvania Plantation, Lee's Woods Trail   Hiking Lee's Woods Trail.
   By Mike Calabrese
Barn Foundation, Lee's Woods Trail
  Barn Foundation, Lee's Woods Trail.
   By Mike Calabrese

Ominous clouds over Potomac River
  Ominous clouds over Potomac River.
  By Mike Calabrese

Fairfax House, Lee's Woods Trail
  Fairfax House, Lee's Woods Trail.
  By Mike Calabrese

The group above Freestone PT
  The group above Freestone PT.
  By Tim Young

Spider Web on Powell's Creek Trail
  Spider Web on Powell's Creek Trail.
  By Mary Gordon

View from Powell's Creek Trail
View from Powell's Creek Trail
By Mary Gordon

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