Go Birding on the Huntley Meadows Boardwalk

The Huntley Meadows Boardwalk Trail is the best place to observe migrating waterfowl and other birds.

Huntley Meadows is one of my favorite bird sanctuaries, and it is less than half an hour’s drive from most of the DC area.

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The Huntley Meadows Boardwalk Trail is the best place to observe migrating waterfowl and other birds.
The Huntley Meadows Boardwalk Trail is the best place to observe migrating waterfowl and other birds.

One of the most interesting parts of the park is where the park opens onto the marshland just beyond the visitor center. If you are interested in birding, you can find this excellent list of the birds you will see, with the likelihood of finding them in each season. You can use this as a scorecard for your bird adventure.

A boardwalk trail winds through Huntley Meadows.
A boardwalk trail winds through Huntley Meadows.

We visited during the October Big Day 2020 and earned 62 points! The observation tower above the boardwalk was where we had the most luck finding birds.

Equipment you may want to bring along:

  • Binoculars
  • Birding app: I recommend Cornell’s BirdNet and Merlin
  • Camera and tripod for taking stills
  • Water / Snack

Huntley Meadows Trail Map

Huntley Meadows trail map for the birding boardwalk (Heron Trail through the marshland) and the Deer Trail and Cedar Trail through the woods.
Huntley Meadows trail map for the birding boardwalk (Heron Trail through the marshland) and the Deer Trail and Cedar Trail through the woods.

Huntley Meadows Birding Hours

Huntley Meadows is open from 4a – 7p, 7 days a week. It opens before dawn because that is often the best time to view birds.

Huntley Meadows Mansion

The Huntley Meadows Mansion, by contrast, is only open for tours on Saturday morning, but you can walk the grounds anytime.

The Huntley Mansion was the ancestral home of the Mason family.
The Huntley Mansion was the ancestral home of the Mason family.
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