W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail In Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Virginia
  • Length: 45 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: https://www.vacreepertrail.org/

The W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail, also known as the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, holds a rich historical significance in the United States. The trail follows the path of the former Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, which played a crucial role in the transportation and development of Northern Virginia.

The railroad was established in 1859 and initially served as a vital link between the port of Alexandria and the town of Bluemont in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It provided a means of transporting goods, such as coal, lumber, and agricultural products, to and from the region. The railroad also facilitated the growth of towns along its route, including Leesburg, Herndon, and Vienna, as it provided a reliable transportation option for both people and goods.

During the Civil War, the W & OD Railroad played a significant role in military operations. It was used to transport troops, supplies, and wounded soldiers, making it a target for both Union and Confederate forces. The railroad suffered extensive damage during the war, but it was quickly repaired and continued to serve the region’s transportation needs.

However, with the rise of the automobile and the decline of rail travel in the mid-20th century, the W & OD Railroad faced financial challenges. In 1968, the railroad ceased operations, and the tracks were eventually removed. Recognizing the historical and recreational value of the corridor, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority acquired the right-of-way and transformed it into the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

Today, the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail spans 45 miles, making it one of the longest paved trails in Virginia. It serves as a popular recreational resource for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and equestrians, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and connecting numerous communities along its route. The trail’s historical significance is preserved through interpretive signs and exhibits, reminding visitors of the important role the railroad played in the region’s development.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Purcellville Trailhead: Located in Purcellville, Virginia, this trailhead is the westernmost access point of the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

2. Leesburg Trailhead: Situated in Leesburg, Virginia, this trailhead provides access to the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

3. Ashburn Trailhead: Located in Ashburn, Virginia, this trailhead is another access point along the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

4. Herndon Trailhead: Situated in Herndon, Virginia, this trailhead provides access to the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

5. Reston Trailhead: Located in Reston, Virginia, this trailhead is another major access point along the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

6. Vienna Trailhead: Situated in Vienna, Virginia, this trailhead provides access to the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

7. Falls Church Trailhead: Located in Falls Church, Virginia, this trailhead is another access point along the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

8. Arlington Trailhead: Situated in Arlington, Virginia, this trailhead provides access to the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

9. Shirlington Trailhead: Located in Shirlington, Virginia, this trailhead is another major access point along the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

10. Alexandria Trailhead: Situated in Alexandria, Virginia, this trailhead provides access to the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Metrobus – Public bus service with multiple routes connecting various locations in the area.
2. Capital Bikeshare – Bike-sharing program offering short-term rentals for convenient cycling.
3. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service providing transportation via private drivers.
4. Lyft – Ride-hailing platform offering affordable and convenient transportation options.
5. Taxi – Traditional taxi service available for quick and direct transportation.
6. Lime – Electric scooter and bike-sharing service for short-distance travel.
7. Zipcar – Car-sharing service allowing members to rent vehicles by the hour or day.
8. Arlington Transit (ART) – Local bus service operated by Arlington County.
9. Capital Bike Trail – Scenic bike trail connecting various neighborhoods and attractions.
10. VRE (Virginia Railway Express) – Commuter train service connecting Northern Virginia with Washington, D.C.


The W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail, including at the trailheads and some parks along the route.

2. Parking: There are multiple parking lots and designated parking areas along the trail, making it convenient for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping sites: While there are no designated camping sites directly on the trail, there are nearby campgrounds and parks where camping is allowed. Some options include Pohick Bay Regional Park, Bull Run Regional Park, and Lake Fairfax Park.

4. Picnic areas: There are several picnic areas along the trail, providing visitors with a place to relax and enjoy a meal. These areas often have picnic tables, benches, and sometimes even grills for cooking.

5. Water fountains: There are water fountains available at various points along the trail, allowing visitors to stay hydrated during their journey.

6. Bike repair stations: The trail features bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps, making it convenient for cyclists to fix minor issues with their bikes.

7. Playgrounds: Some parks along the trail have playgrounds, providing a fun and safe space for children to play.

8. Dog-friendly areas: The trail is dog-friendly, and there are designated areas where dogs are allowed off-leash. However, it is important to follow the trail’s rules and regulations regarding pets.

9. Scenic overlooks: The trail offers several scenic overlooks, providing beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes and natural features.

10. Interpretive signs: Along the trail, there are interpretive signs that provide information about the history, ecology, and points of interest along the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

Please note that amenities may vary at different sections of the trail, so it is advisable to check specific locations or park websites for more detailed information.

Nearby Services

1. Comfort Inn & Suites Leesburg – Affordable hotel with comfortable rooms near the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.
2. Lansdowne Resort and Spa – Upscale resort offering luxurious accommodations and a variety of amenities, located close to the trail.
3. Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm – Rustic American restaurant serving classic dishes, conveniently situated near the trail.
4. Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets – Shopping center with various food options, perfect for a quick bite while exploring the trail.
5. Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company – Emergency services provider located in Leesburg, offering assistance if needed along the trail.

W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail Difficulty Notes

The W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning 45 miles through Northern Virginia, the trail provides a mix of paved and unpaved surfaces, making it suitable for various activities such as walking, running, cycling, and even horseback riding. While the trail is mostly flat, there are some gradual inclines and declines along the way, adding a touch of challenge to the experience. Additionally, the trail passes through urban areas, requiring users to navigate intersections and road crossings. Overall, the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail offers a satisfying level of difficulty that caters to both beginners and more experienced individuals seeking an enjoyable outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

The W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail is a 45-mile long trail that stretches from Arlington, Virginia to Purcellville, Virginia. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the trail:

1. Bluemont Junction Park: Located in Arlington, this park offers a scenic view of the surrounding area and is a great starting point for the trail.

2. Falls Church: This historic city along the trail has several landmarks, including the Falls Church Episcopal and the Cherry Hill Farmhouse.

3. Vienna: This charming town has a historic district with beautiful architecture, including the Freeman House and the Vienna Train Station.

4. Reston: The trail passes through Reston, a planned community with scenic lakes, parks, and the Reston Town Center, which offers shopping and dining options.

5. Herndon: This town has a historic district with several 19th-century buildings, including the Herndon Depot Museum, which showcases the town’s railroad history.

6. Ashburn: The trail passes through Ashburn, which is home to the Ashburn Station, a historic train station that has been converted into a museum.

7. Leesburg: This historic town has several landmarks, including the Loudoun County Courthouse and the Marshall House.

8. Purcellville: The trail ends in Purcellville, a small town with a historic downtown area and the Purcellville Train Station, which is now a visitor center.

9. Natural Landmarks: Along the trail, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the surrounding countryside, including views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, farmland, and wooded areas.

10. Historic Railroad Bridges: The trail crosses several historic railroad bridges, including the Difficult Run Bridge and the Goose Creek Bridge, which offer unique views and photo opportunities.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that you can experience along the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
– Bicycles and pedestrians should yield to horses on the trail.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail, except for authorized maintenance vehicles.
– The trail is open from sunrise to sunset.
– Camping or overnight stays are not permitted.
– Fires and open flames are prohibited.
– Littering is strictly prohibited.
– Hunting or trapping is not allowed.
– Fishing is permitted in designated areas only.
– Swimming or wading in the trail’s water bodies is not allowed.
– Use of firearms or fireworks is prohibited.
– Unauthorized commercial activities or vending is not permitted.
– Trail users should stay on designated paths and not trespass onto private property.
– Cyclists should maintain a safe speed and yield to pedestrians.
– Horseback riding is only allowed on designated equestrian trails.
– Use of headphones or earbuds while cycling or walking is discouraged for safety reasons.
– Trail users should respect and be considerate of other visitors.
– Motorized scooters or skateboards are not allowed on the trail.
– Trail users should follow all posted signs and regulations.

Seasonal Information

The W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Located in Northern Virginia, this 45-mile trail follows the path of the former Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside and numerous recreational opportunities. When it comes to the best times of the year to visit, spring and fall are often considered the most ideal.

In the spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant colors as the trees and flowers bloom. The weather is generally mild, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or even picnicking along the trail. The trail is also less crowded during this time, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty and tranquility of the surroundings.

Fall is another fantastic time to visit the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail. As the leaves change into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows, the trail becomes a picturesque wonderland. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it an excellent time for outdoor activities, such as jogging or cycling. Additionally, the trail is often less crowded during the fall months, providing a more peaceful and serene experience.

It’s important to note that the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail does have seasonal closures. During the winter months, sections of the trail may be closed due to inclement weather or maintenance work. It’s always a good idea to check the trail’s official website or contact the park authorities for the most up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions. Despite these closures, the trail remains accessible for a significant portion of the year, allowing visitors to enjoy its beauty and recreational opportunities throughout most seasons.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are provided along the trail for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility impairments.
3. Paved Pathways: The trail features smooth, paved surfaces that are accessible for wheelchair users, allowing for easy navigation.
4. Accessible Trail Entrances: The entrances to the trail are designed to be accessible, with ramps or level surfaces for wheelchair users to enter and exit the trail.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Throughout the trail, there are rest areas equipped with benches, providing a place for individuals with disabilities to take a break.
6. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be wheelchair accessible, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy outdoor dining.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: ADA-compliant water fountains are available along the trail, ensuring individuals with disabilities have access to drinking water.
8. Signage with Braille: Trail signage includes Braille translations, enabling individuals with visual impairments to navigate the trail independently.
9. Accessible Crossings: Crosswalks and intersections along the trail are equipped with curb cuts and audible signals, ensuring safe passage for wheelchair users and individuals with visual impairments.
10. Accessible Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead facilities, including visitor centers or information kiosks, are designed to be accessible for individuals with disabilities, providing necessary information and assistance.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any closures or maintenance updates before heading out on the trail.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress accordingly.
3. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by following proper etiquette, such as yielding to pedestrians and using appropriate signals.
4. Stay Alert: Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of other trail users, road crossings, and potential hazards.
5. Use Lights and Reflectors: If biking or walking during low-light conditions, use lights and reflective gear to enhance visibility.
6. Stay Hydrated: Carry enough water to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather.
7. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
8. Trail Buddy System: Consider going with a friend or letting someone know your planned route and estimated return time.
9. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a cell phone, identification, and any necessary medical information in case of emergencies.
10. Trail Access Points: Familiarize yourself with the trail access points and parking areas for convenience and safety.
11. Wildlife Awareness: Respect the natural habitat and wildlife along the trail, keeping a safe distance and not feeding or disturbing them.
12. Trail Hours: Be aware of the trail’s operating hours and plan your activities accordingly.
13. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications.
14. Trail Maps: Obtain a trail map or use a GPS device to navigate the trail and avoid getting lost.
15. Secure Valuables: Keep your belongings secure and out of sight to prevent theft.
16. Share the Trail: Be courteous to other trail users, including cyclists, walkers, runners, and equestrians.
17. Road Crossings: Exercise caution when crossing roads along the trail, obeying traffic signals and looking both ways.
18. Trail Surface: Be mindful of the trail surface, which may include gravel, pavement, or dirt, and adjust your pace accordingly.
19. Restrooms and Facilities: Familiarize yourself with restroom and facility locations along the trail for convenience during longer outings.
20. Leave No Trace: Pack out any trash or waste and leave the trail as you found it, respecting the environment and other users.

Conservation Notes

The W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail is a significant conservation area that plays a crucial role in preserving the natural environment and wildlife habitats in Northern Virginia. As a designated regional park, the trail is actively managed and protected to ensure the conservation of its diverse ecosystems and species.

The conservation status of the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail is considered to be in good standing. Efforts are made to maintain the trail’s ecological integrity and protect its natural resources. The park management implements various conservation practices, such as regular monitoring of wildlife populations, controlling invasive species, and preserving native vegetation.

The trail’s conservation status is also supported by its designation as a National Recreation Trail and its inclusion in the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. These designations highlight the trail’s significance in terms of both recreational opportunities and conservation values. The park management collaborates with local conservation organizations and volunteers to ensure the trail’s long-term sustainability and protection of its natural heritage.

Overall, the conservation status of the W & OD Railroad Regional Park Trail reflects a commitment to preserving the area’s ecological integrity, promoting biodiversity, and providing a sustainable recreational experience for visitors. Through ongoing conservation efforts, the trail continues to serve as a valuable resource for both nature enthusiasts and the local community.

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