As the last warm days of the year are replaced by blustering winds and cooler temperatures, it is natural to seek refuge in the warmth of home. But, homeowners in Northern Virginia are fortunate! Without much effort, you and your family can capitalize on the waning hours of sunlight, practically in your backyard. Crisscrossing all over the region is a series of bicycle and pedestrian-friendly rail trails with numerous access points and destinations of interest. Layer-up clothes, grab helmets, and hit the trails!
Among the most popular rail trails in NoVA is the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. The 45 mile long, paved path runs from Shirlington to Purcellville, passing through Reston, Herndon, Falls Church, and Leesburg. It is a haven for individuals looking for a safe and leisurely out-and-back run or for families wanting to enjoy a traffic-free bike ride with kids. Fanning off the main trail are innumerable intersecting trails to off-the-beaten path attractions.
Favorite detours along the W&OD include the Benjamin Banneker Dog Park, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Green Lizard Cycling & Coffee Bar, Dry Mill Vineyards & Winery, and Downtown Purcellville. For folks living in more urban parts of Northern Virginia, Purcellville is a low key retreat with restaurants, shops, a brewery, and distillery. The town is a short bike ride or walk from the end of the W&OD trail. For families with youngsters, the trail also passes through several lovely, urban parks with streamside picnic tables. Bring along a backpack with snacks and extra layers to enjoy a break from the activity in the leaves and brisk air.
If you are looking for more trail miles, check-out the Custis Trail- a four mile, paved lane connecting the W&OD to Rosslyn and Georgetown. This trail is a great asset to Northern Virginia for leisure, sport, and commuting into DC. For more information regarding access points to the W&OD Trail, visit the NoVA Parks website.