Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Lorton, VA
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description: Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge was specifically created to protect essential bald eagle nesting, feeding, and roosting habitats along the Potomac River. Along with active eagle nesting, the refuge hosts a rookery containing more than 1,200 nests for great blue herons.

The 2,276-acre refuge, adjacent to Mason Neck State Park, contains about 2,000 acres of hardwood forest, the largest freshwater marsh (285 acres) in Northern Virginia, and nearly six miles of shoreline.

Visitors can view the refuge along two trails, one through woods and one in Great Marsh. In the spring, wildflowers fill the woods as songbirds migrate through the area and various types of ducks feed along the creeks and marsh. In the summer and fall, birds such as egrets and herons dominate the marshes before many of them travel south for the winter. From November to February, bald eagles breed and lay eggs.

Location / Directions: The Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge is located on the historic Mason Neck peninsula, 18 miles south of Washington, DC.

From points north: Take I-395 South to Lorton at exit 163. Make a left onto Lorton Road, then a right onto Gunston Cove Road before the railroad bridge. Cross Richmond Highway onto Gunston Road. Travel for 4.5 miles, and look for the refuge on the right.

From points south: Take I-95 North to the Fort Belvoir exit. Make a right onto Gunston Road. Travel for 4.5 miles, and look for the refuge on the right.

Physical Address: Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge
High Point Road
Lorton, VA 22079-40101
Mailing Address: Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge
14344 Jefferson Davis Highway
Woodbridge, VA 22191
Phone: (703) 490-4979
Activities: The Mason Neck refuge supports two trails for hiking, bird-watching, and wildlife observation. Interpretive kiosks at the head of the Woodmarsh Trail and Great Marsh Trail provide information on the recovery and management of the bald eagle and endangered species.

The refuge is renowned for its unique opportunities to see eagles, woodpeckers, and various waterfowl. Wildlife photographers particularly like the end of the Great Marsh Trail to encounter birds on the Great Marsh.

You also can join informative surveys and projects conducted by staff biologists about eagle management, great blue herons, wood ducks, neotropical migratory birds, and white-tailed deer.

Biking Hiking Hunting

Operating Hours: The refuge is open year-round, and trails are open from dawn to dusk.
Fees: There are no fees to access the refuge. Annual parking passes are available for $36.
Visitor Facilities: There is no visitor center, nor any concessions, at Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge at this time. There are portable toilets. An environmental education pavilion enables field studies for small groups. The adjacent Mason Neck State Park does have a visitor center and other facilities.
Size: 2,277 acres
Accessibility: There is a handicapped-accessible portable toilet at one of the trailheads.
Website: http://refuges.fws.gov/profiles/index.cfm?id=51610

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY