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Best Cycling Trails in Northern Virginia

April 19th, 2024

By Sofia Alonso

2 min read

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Northern Virginia offers a rich network of cycling trails catering to both recreational riders and serious cyclists. The region's trails wind through historical sites, lush parks, and along scenic waterways, providing a diverse range of experiences.

Here are some popular cycling trails in Northern Virginia:


1. Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (W&OD Trail)

The W&OD Trail is one of the most popular and longest paved trails in the area, stretching 45 miles from Arlington to Purcellville. It follows the former roadbed of the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, offering a relatively flat and continuous path that's ideal for cyclists of all levels. The trail passes through urban areas, suburban parks, and into the Virginia countryside, providing a variety of scenery and stopping points, including local breweries, parks, and historic sites.


2. Mount Vernon Trail

The Mount Vernon Trail is an 18-mile paved multi-use trail that offers stunning views of the Potomac River and Washington D.C.'s iconic monuments. It stretches from George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island, connecting with other trails along the way. Cyclists can enjoy the trail's scenic beauty, with plenty of spots for picnicking, bird watching, and taking in the historic landmarks of Old Town Alexandria.


3. Custis Trail

The Custis Trail runs parallel to I-66 for about four miles, connecting the W&OD Trail in Arlington with the Mount Vernon Trail near the Key Bridge. It's a hilly route that provides a good workout and offers access to the urban amenities of Arlington. The trail is popular among commuters and recreational cyclists alike, serving as a key connector in Northern Virginia's bike trail network.


4. Fairfax County Parkway Trail

This trail runs alongside the Fairfax County Parkway, stretching over 30 miles and connecting several community parks, residential areas, and commercial centers. While it crosses some busy intersections, the trail is a convenient route for cyclists looking to explore different parts of Fairfax County. It's suitable for both leisurely rides and more serious training, with varying elevations along the way.


5. Cross County Trail (CCT)

The Cross County Trail spans approximately 40 miles through Fairfax County, from Great Falls National Park to Occoquan Regional Park. It traverses a variety of terrains, including wooded areas, stream valleys, and urban centers. The trail is a mix of paved and natural surfaces, offering a more adventurous route for mountain bikers and hybrid bike riders. The CCT connects several parks and natural preserves, making it a great option for cyclists who enjoy nature and wildlife.


6. Prince William Forest Park

For those seeking a more secluded and natural setting, Prince William Forest Park offers over 15 miles of paved and gravel cycling paths. The park's scenic roads and trails run through dense forests and past historic sites, providing a peaceful retreat. It's an excellent choice for family rides, with gentle hills and plenty of opportunities to explore the park's natural and historical features.


7. Four Mile Run Trail

The Four Mile Run Trail is a nearly 7-mile paved trail that runs along Four Mile Run, a stream valley in Arlington. It connects several major trails, including the W&OD Trail, Mount Vernon Trail, and Custis Trail, making it a vital link in the regional network. The trail offers urban and natural scenery, with sections running through parks and alongside the stream.

These trails highlight the diversity of cycling experiences available in Northern Virginia, from scenic leisurely rides to challenging routes for more experienced cyclists. Whether you're looking to explore the region's historical sites, enjoy its natural beauty, or simply get some exercise, Northern Virginia's trails offer something for every cyclist.


9903 Georgetown Pike Suite 201
Great Falls, VA 22066
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