Three miles of shoreline along the Potomac River borders Piscataway Park which offers nature trails, is home to the National Colonial Farm, and has scenic views of Mt. Vernon. The trails at Piscataway Park also link to a portion of the Captain John Smith and Potomac Heritage scenic trails, creating a lengthy walking trail.
Quick Look at Piscataway Park
Address: 3400 Bryan Point Rd, Accokeek, MD 20607
Pets: ON A LEASH ALLOWED
History of Piscataway Park
The land and waterways now known as Piscataway Park have been the tribal homeland of the Piscataway People for longer than records have been kept.
In the 1950s development threatened the 500 acre farm directly across the river from Mt. Vernon. The farm was purchased and the Accokeek Foundation was founded to protect six miles of Potomac shoreline. Piscataway Park was created as a result of the conservation efforts of the Accokeek Foundation.
The National Colonial Farm at Piscataway Park is a historic farm museum established by the Accokeek Foundation in 1958. The farm shows the history of early Marylander farmers.
Self-Guided Hikes at Piscataway
There are three different types of self-guided hikes, all of which can be downloaded before you leave home: Nature, History and the Fairy Trail ($5 fee). We opted for the Fairy Trail since we had two preschoolers with us, and easily found the first Fairy House near the fishing pier.
The trails are not especially well marked but the paths are easy to follow. From the fishing pier we walked through the woods along the edge of the river until we got to a large field and saw chickens in a big moveable cage that required closer inspection. As a special note, the animals living at National Colonial Farm are heritage animals, breeds of animals that have been around for several hundred years with unique genes, but are now nearly extinct.
After leaving the chickens we headed back towards the river and linked up with the PawPaw and Bluebird trails. We found two more Fairy Houses and also walked through a grove of PawPaw trees. Finding one on the ground we sampled it to discover that it tastes similar to a mango but with the consistency of a banana.
National Colonial Farm
By this time the girls were ready to go look at the farm animals. We saw an enormous hog, of course wallowing in the mud. We also peeked at cows in the barn, turkeys and sheep grazing in a field.
The farm buildings are currently being restored so we couldn’t go inside to take a look at them. The four-year-old wondered where the playground was which led to a lengthy discussion about what the kids could do for entertainment living in a time with no playgrounds, bikes, TVs, or electronics of any kind.
Piscataway Park Details
After passing the glitz of National Harbor, it’s a jarring difference in scenery as you get close to Piscataway Park. Bryan Point Road is a long, wooded and winding road down to the Park. From the parking lot the path to the fishing pier is only 500 feet.
The Visitor’s Center is currently closed due to COVID but there is park information and portable toilets adjacent to the parking lot. The park is open daily from 7am to 7pm. Admission is free. Dogs are allowed on a leash. Check their calendar for special events and farm tours.
By Donna Jefferson