Among them: Great Falls National Park, Virginia, the C&O Canal towpath, on the opposite bank of the Potomac River, the W&OD Trail, Burke Lake, Sky Meadows State Park and different places in the Shenandoah National Park, including of course Old Rag Mountain, a great hike, about which you can read elsewhere on this site.
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Great Falls National Park, particularly on the Virginia side offers an incredible variety of trails, from relatively flat and wide thoroughfares, such as the Carriage Road, to steep, rocky paths, such as the River, or Matildaville Trails.
A Nordic Walk through most of the park, as far as the Difficult Run stream can be a truly epic workout. Make sure to have a towel and a spare shirt in the car. The views of the falls and of Mather Gorge are unparalleled. The heavy rains have done quite a bit of damage everywhere, including the Difficult Run Trail, which despite “trail closed” signs remains passable.
The upstream section, towards Riverbend Park offers a great network of trails, both relatively flat, along the Potomac and quite hilly and steep.
Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, known as the W&OD, cuts a 45-mile swath through well-developed Northern Virginia suburbs. Just west of our location in Vienna, a parallel, dirt horse trail starts in the westerly direction. This is also prime Nordic Walking and cycling territory.
Burke Lake Park. Besides a variety of attractions this park offers a 4.5 – mile trail around the lake. My personal best – which I am trying to beat still – is a time of one hour and 18 seconds, established on August 29, 2005. Next mark I’ll be shooting for is a time of UNDER an hour. Although I have gone around the lake faster, while running and certainly much faster on my mountain bike, walking, or Nordic Walking that distance in such a short time is a very hard, and a very good workout.
The C&O Canal NHP parallels the left bank of the Potomac from Georgetown, in Washington, DC, to Cumberland, Maryland for 184.5 miles. The canal operated from 1828-1924 as a transportation route, primarily hauling coal from western Maryland to the port of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. By bike it took me 5 days to cover the route. It is another truly great walking and Nordic Walking destination.
Sky Meadows State Park – Paris, Virginia – A great many trails, reaching out to the Appalachian Trail, between the Shenandoah National Park and Harpers Ferry, WV. New Ambassador Whitehouse trail opened in early summer of 2005. Rolling meadows, old orchards, woods, rocky in parts. Astronomy nights held in the park on some summer weekends.
Sky Meadows State Park, located near Paris, VA offers a variety of trails, through pastures and woods, great views and access to the Appalachian Trail.
What I call the Reston, Virginia “lake district”. Usually do a complete circuit of both Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau. Very pretty area, with houses facing both of the man-made lakes. Mostly paved. Just a part of Reston’s extensive trail network.
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