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Walk at Zachary Taylor Park on a dry day

Zachary Taylor Nature Area
Zachary Taylor Nature Area
James George

The fire danger must be high. Check that: 92 degrees, overcast and no rain until tonight. Hey, it was a beautiful hike today in Zachary Taylor Park where a few hikers were present and mostly dog walkers. Dogs spook animals so there wasn’t much to see with a couple of exceptions. I almost walked on a toad that was crossing the path. It looked exactly like a leaf. (See the feature picture.)

Pine woods tree frog at Zachary Taylor Park
James George

Zachary Taylor trails have gravel whereas Gulf Branch down the road is mostly dirt. Zachary Taylor affords a nice shady walk with some low rises in a 44 acre space.

The brook is pleasant and the water appeared clean today.


  • A pine woods tree frog appeared on the footpath.
  • Red raspberries are present in the thicket.
  • Very old trees grow here with an ever present water supply.
  • The brook is bubbling.
  • There are plenty of places to rest on benches and to have picnics at tables.
  • The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust protects this park.
  • It is located in the Bellevue Forest Neighborhood.

If there is a lesson from this experience today it would be to restore more stream to Arlington County and to expand the canopy. These things are assets and we need more of them.

“The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust is creating conservation miracles right here in Northern Virginia. -- Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, World Renowned Conservationist”

Further up Military Road and around the corner on Glebe Road, you will discover Ethan Allen Fort, a part of Civil War history as it was a defensive fort.

Signs explain the fort’s design. It might be worthwhile to do some research on area forts before visiting them. That way, you will better understand what you are observing. A string of forts were built to defend Washington and they are lined up connected by Military Road and local neighborhoods.

There is an old cannon on display among preserved earthworks. With more investment, places like the Forts could attract more visitors. As it is, the adjoining parks serve the local community very well.

“Fort Ethan Allen was an earthwork fortification built on the property of Gilbert Vanderwerken in Alexandria County, Virginia, (now Arlington, Virginia) by the Union Army in 1861 as part of the defense of Washington during the American Civil War. The remains of the fort, a portion of the earthen walls, now overgrown, are now part of Fort Ethan Allen Park.[3]”,_Virginia)

“Old Rough and Ready” got this parked named for him.

“Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850) was the 12th President of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Before his presidency, Taylor was a career officer in the United States Army, rising to the rank of major general. His status as a national hero as a result of his victories in the Mexican-American War won him election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died sixteen months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, which had been inflaming tensions in Congress. Taylor was born to a prominent family of planters who migrated westward from Virginia to Kentucky in his youth. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army in 1808 and made a name for himself as a captain in the War of 1812. He climbed the ranks establishing military forts along the Mississippi River and entered the Black Hawk War as a colonel in 1832. His success in the Second Seminole War attracted national attention and earned him the nickname "Old Rough and Ready".”

Zachary Taylor Nature Area
2900 Military Rd
Arlington, VA 22207

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