November 7, 2016
Northern Virginia has miles of fun hiking trails that you and your family can enjoy year-round that are close to home. Northern Virginia’s state parks, regional parks, and national parks offer footpaths for all abilities and allow everyone to enjoy the great outdoors at their own pace. The region’s extensive trails are great for day hikes and feature lush forests, rivers and streams, waterfalls, and scenic vistas of green mountains and blue skies. You don’t have to be an expert hiker to enjoy nature for a few hours! On the trails you will see deer, different kinds of trees and plants, rock face, and Revolutionary and Civil War points of interests. And now that autumn has arrived, you can enjoy colorful foilage. Just think—it’s all within a short drive from home! All you need are some hiking boots or comfortable sneakers, detailed maps of marked trails, small backpacks, eco-friendly water bottles, snacks, hats, some layered clothing (seasonal weather means chillier temperatures!), and maybe even some inexpensive hiking poles. Some hiking trails have access to eateries or wineries right off the trail. If you want to be part of a fun group outing, the Northern Virginia Hiking Club offers hikes of different levels each weekend. Or you can choose to discover great hiking trails on your own. There are many parks with fun hiking trails in NOVA counties. In Fairfax County, these include Great Falls National Park, Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, Mason Neck State Park, Bull-Run Occoquan Trail from Bull Run Park, Turkey Run Park along the Potomac River, and Burke Lake Park (the American Hiking Society rated it one of the 10 Best Metropolitan Area Fitness Trails in the country). Out in Prince William County the parks and trails include Prince William Forest Park, Manassas National Battlefield, with access to The Winery at Bull Run. In Arlington County you can hike at Potomac Overlook Park. Take a short road trip west on I-66 and you can enjoy hiking at Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County, on the famed Appalachian Trail (accessible in Markham and at Sky Meadows), and of course at Shenandoah National Park. Websites such as Hiking Upwards and Fairfax County's Trail Buddy are wonderful resources to help you explore all the terrific hiking options in Northern Virginia and to help you and your family map out a fun day on the trail!