Foothills to Falls
Just minutes from the hustle and bustle of urban Washington D.C., the Foothills to Falls Loop leads the wildlife watcher to a series of well-managed parks and natural areas bursting with wildlife. Whether it’s hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, scanning the mighty Potomac River or exploring the many parks in between, wildlife can be found in profusion. Virginia’s Piedmont is at its narrowest in this northern-most area, a mere forty-five miles across. The Piedmont, the locally hilly region between the Blue Ridge on the west and the Fall Line on the east, has narrowed from a maximum width of 190 miles in the southern part of the state. This narrowing of the Piedmont brings the flyways and habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal Potomac and of the Blue Ridge Mountains into close proximity. The great diversity of birds includes bald eagles along the Potomac, a full compliment of eastern woodpeckers, neotropical migrants and numerous waterfowl. The local area is a patchwork of open fields, successional forest and mature hardwoods interspersed with ponds, creeks and rivers. This creates extended edge habitat, favored by wildlife. Occasionally, black bear have been spotted. Beaver, white-tailed deer and red fox are common in this largely suburban area. The Foothills to Falls Loop is also rich with historic sites, cultural opportunities and accommodations. The loop overlaps, and in some instances includes sites on, the Virginia Civil War Trail and proposed French and Indian War Trail. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and several interesting local museums and theaters enrich the area. Numerous other attractions provide enjoyment for visitors after a long day of wildlife watching.