Washington & Old Dominion TrailWith temperatures rising, everyone is beginning to look to the outdoors for entertainment. For those of us in Northern Virginia, escaping to nature is even easier than finding parking at Tysons Corner on a Saturday afternoon, with a plethora of incredible parks right at our finger tips.
One of the most popular and easily accessible parks is the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad Regional Park, which runs 45 miles from Shirlington to Purcellville, along the former train tracks of the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad. The trail is used by cyclists, runners and skaters, and equestrians can ride alongside it on a 32 mile gravel trail. There are several car parks, so you can hop on and off wherever is most convenient for you, exploring small portions at a time.
The railroad was a vital route during its 120 years of use, winding through what is known today as Arlington, Falls Church, Vienna, Reston, Herndon, Sterling, Leesburg and Purcellville. Due to its route, it was the site of skirmishes during the Civil War and has witnessed the urbanization and development of Northern Virginia. NOVA Parks took over the railroad in 1974, and spent the next 14 years redeveloping the land into the trail it is today.
Today, the trail is used by all kinds of nature lovers and fitness buffs. Its proximity to major business districts and thoroughfares means that weekday mornings and evenings are for the commuters, fitting in a little fresh air and morning breeze as they cycle to and from work. You’re just as likely to see those out for their daily jog, walk or cycle along the path. Everyone on the path is friendly and respectful of fellow trail users, waving ‘hello’ and following the guidelines which keep the trail a fun and safe environment for all. A healthy economy is built up around the path and beer, because who doesn’t love a nice cold brew after a particularly hard run?
One of the unique aspects of the W&OD trail is that it winds through busy urban areas and quiet wooded areas alike. Just a few minutes on the trail can have you crossing from a crowded intersection into a dense forest, where you may see wildlife darting in and out of the trees!
Whether you are a resident or visitor, we highly recommend visiting the W&OD trail for a new perspective on life in Northern Virginia! This trail is easily visited from many Dwel furnished residences, making it an easy jaunt from your home base.