top of page
IMG_0410.JPG

Points of Interest

Special places in the Preserve that our staff and visitors love.

Screenshot (1).png

Wetland Observation Deck

This deck is a great place to get an elevated view of the main wetlands complex. Spend a few moments here and you're likely to see (or hear) lots of wetland wildlife! The deck is very popular with birders - common birds in this area include red-winged blackbirds, herons, egrets, and geese. Lucky visitors might catch a glimpse of soras, bitterns, or even swans!

Distance from parking: approximately 300 feet.

Nearest interpretive sign: signs 1-4.

To get there: from Parking Lot West, follow the paved path.

Berry Pond

This scenic pond is named for the Berry family, who once lived in this area. With two benches along the water, it's a great spot to stop and enjoy the beauty of nature. The eastern (right) side of the pond features a beaver dam, replete with the sound of rushing water as it cascades into the streambed to continue its journey through the North Fork of Broad Run.

Distance from parking: approximately 700 feet.

Nearest interpretive sign: none.

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the right branch of Meadow Loop (center at the fork). Continue straight at the intersection to a path that leads down to the pond. Benches are located on the left and right sides.

Berry pond.JPG
Photo Mar 22 2022, 10 08 25 AM.jpg

The Old House

This homestead is the most intact historic building at Leopold's Preserve. Though we aren't sure who lived here, we estimate the house dates back to the early 20th century. Its occupants were members of the nearby Thoroughfare community that was founded by formerly enslaved people. In the spring, visitors can see heritage daffodils blooming around the house.

Distance from parking: approximately 0.25 miles.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 7, "Old Homesteads".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Turn right onto Leopold's Loop and continue for about 700 feet. The house will come into view as the trail turns.

Cattle Corral

Much of the land that is now Leopold's Preserve was once farmland. This corral would have been used by farmers to hold and sort cattle for inventory, sale, or health checkups. Read the adjacent "Farm Life" interpretive sign for more information on 20th century farming in this area.

Distance from parking: approximately 0.25 miles

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 8, "Farm Life".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Continue straight at the intersection, onto Warbler Way. The corral is at the intersection of Warbler Way and Warbler Loop.

DSCN0124.JPG
DSCN7043.JPG

Piedmont Savanna

Once common, Piedmont Savannas are now one of the most threatened habitat types in this region. These fire-dominated landscapes feature a distinctive patchwork of tree cover and a meadow-like understory, creating a place where many different species can thrive. We are in the midst of a multi-year project to recreate this special habitat. Take a stroll along a short loop path that winds through the savanna to see our progress!

Distance from parking: approximately 0.4 miles.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 11, "Landscapes in Motion".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Continue straight at the intersection, onto Warbler Way. Turn left at the "Farm Life" sign to stay on Warbler Way. Continue until you reach the "Landscapes in Motion" sign and the savanna path.

Upland Depression Swamp

Protected from deer browse by a tall fence, this unique wetland holds water for only part of the year. Many fascinating plants grow in the shallow depression, including viburnum, sedges, jewelweed, and jack-in-the-pulpit. Volunteers remove invasive plants from this area annually in August.

Distance from parking: approximately 0.5 miles.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 13, "Unique Ecosystem".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Continue straight at the intersection, onto Warbler Way. Turn left at the "Farm Life" sign to stay on Warbler Way. Continue for another 1/4 mile, over the boardwalks and into the forest. On your right, a path leads to a boardwalk and the fenced-in swamp.

DSCN3135.JPG
Picture1.png

Brown Cemetery

This cemetery is the resting place of members of the Brown family, who were likely tenant farmers on the land that is now Leopold's Preserve.​ The Browns may have had a home near this cemetery, which dates to 1940. Please note that this cemetery is located on the border of the Preserve - we ask that all visitors be respectful of our neighbors on the adjacent property.

Distance from parking: approximately 1 mile.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 14, "The Brown Families".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Turn right onto Leopold's Loop. Follow the trail for about 1 mile, continuing along Thoroughfare Road - the trail veers left away from the road near a fence gate. Shortly after the gate, make a left onto the path and you will reach the cemetery.

Wood Frog Pond

One of the most peaceful spots in the Preserve, this pond was likely built by farmers who once lived here. Keep an eye out for frogs, ducks, deer, and more while you enjoy this secluded area.

Distance from parking: approximately 1.25 miles.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 15, "Small Pond, Big Benefits".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Turn right onto Leopold's Loop. Follow the trail for about 1 mile, continuing along Thoroughfare Road - the trail veers left away from the road near a fence gate. The trail weaves in and out along the forest edge until you reach the pond on your left.

DSCN3289.JPG
DSCN7786.JPG

Pinkard Cemetery

This cemetery is the resting place of members of the Pinkard family, who farmed corn in this area in the 20th century. Visitors will notice an abundance of sword-like yucca plants in and around the cemetery - these plants were often used in the past to mark graves, especially in African and African-American cemeteries.

Distance from parking: approximately 1.75 miles.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 20, "The Pinkard Family".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Turn right onto Leopold's Loop. Follow the trail for about 1.6 miles. Turn right at the "Common Running Cedar" sign and cross the large bridge to reach Pinkard's Loop. Take the left branch of the Loop, and just past the bend you will see a path leading to the cemetery.

Living Legacy Landscape

Lives lost during the Civil War are commemorated with native tree and shrub plantings on the eastern frontage of the Preserve along Route 15. Seasonal red colors of the plants (including redbud and winterberry) represent courage and sacrifice. Click here to learn more. This spot is the approximate midpoint of Leopold's Loop and is a great place to stop and contemplate the deep history of the land.

Distance from parking: approximately 2 miles.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 24, "On Hallowed Ground".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Turn right or left onto Leopold's Loop - you're headed to the midpoint of the Loop, so both directions are roughly the same distance. Follow the trail for about 2 miles. You will emerge from the woods into the Living Legacy Landscape along Route 15. Visitors can cross Market Ridge Blvd. at the streetlight to continue around Leopold's Loop.

DSCN4360.JPG
DSCN0489.JPG

Vernal Pool

This shallow pool is a special habitat for amphibians and insects. Baby salamanders, tadpoles, and insect larvae thrive here because fish cannot survive in the pool - its water dries up over the summer. Fish are a major predator of tadpoles and larvae. Visitors in early spring will notice large clumps of frog and salamander eggs. In late spring, keep your eyes peeled for tadpoles!

Distance from parking: approximately 1.5 miles.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 26, "Now You See It, Now You Don't".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Turn left onto Leopold's Loop. Follow the trail for about 1.5 miles. You will see the interpretive sign and pool on your left.

Beaver Bridge

One of the Preserve's largest bridges, Beaver Bridge spans a wide beaver-modified wetland complex. The shallow wetland is a great place to spot ducks, herons, and other waterfowl. In the distance, a beaver dam and lodge loom out of the reeds. Shrewd visitors may glimpse our resident snapping turtle swimming through the channels or sunning itself near the water.

Distance from parking: approximately 0.75 miles.

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 32, "Nature's Engineers".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Turn left onto Leopold's Loop. Follow the trail for about 0.7 miles. Continue past the large fenced pond to the trail on your left, and you will see the bridge just ahead.

DSC01418.JPG
DSCN3094.JPG

The Big Pond

This artificial pond was engineered to catch stormwater runoff from nearby developments.​ Unlike most stormwater ponds, which are typically surrounded by mowed turf grass, this pond is rife with tall native grasses and wildflowers. These plants require less maintenance than turf grass and provide excellent habitat for wildlife. In the summer, visitors will see a proliferation of showy orange butterfly weed, while ducks, geese, cormorants, and other birds frequent the pond year-round.

Distance from parking: approximately 0.75 miles. 

Nearest interpretive sign: sign 32, "Nature's Engineers".

To get there: from Parking Lot East, take the connector trail (right at the fork) through the trees. Turn left onto Leopold's Loop. Follow the trail for about 0.7 miles until you see the black fence surrounding the pond on your right. Visitors are welcome to enter through the open fence gate and walk around the pond.

bottom of page