Have You Been? Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Park

W&OD Trail 3Great Eco-Adventure Spot Uncovered in Northern Virginia

On of the longest parks in Northern Virginia, the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park offers nature loving, eco-enthusiasts 45 miles of winding trails to explore. This is a must-experience hidden treasure while visiting the Virginia/Washington, D.C. area.

The park’s main trail begins in Shirlington and runs to Purcellville in Loudoun County. Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park is open all year from dawn until dusk and welcomes all ages.

The multi-use park accommodates walking, biking, running, hiking, skating and horseback riding. The trail makes creative use of old resources by being built directly over the old railbed of the former Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, which was closed in 1968. The trail has 13 parking/entry locations and allows visitors an intimate view of Northern Virginia’s beautiful countryside and urban areas.

There are many charming spots to stop along the way with stone bridges, peaceful flowing creeks and ponds. The park even has a number of interpretative exhibits that describe the historic and natural features of each section of trail. Several historic structures can be found such as original railroad passenger shelters and other features dating back to pre-Civil War times.

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) maintains the park and all of its trails. The NVRPA also keeps most of the land surrounding the trails in a natural state to create a small impact on the environment. Today, local teachers, environmental groups and amateur naturalists use the park as a living laboratory for plant and animal studies. These groups have successfully identified approximately 450 species of wildflowers and more than 100 species of birds that make their home in the park.

If you are planning to visit Northern Virginia this is a great spot not to be missed. For more information about Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park visit www.nvrpa.org/park/w_od_railroad.

~Monica Breeden

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