Just Outside DC
Washington & Old Dominion Trail
The Washington and Old Dominion Trail, known as the W&OD
Trail, is a 45-mile multi-use trail for walkers, runners, skaters, and cyclists. A 32-mile adjacent gravel
and dirt trail is provided for equestrians. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on either trail.
Owned and operated by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the W&OD Trail is
built on the roadbed of the former Washington & Old Dominion Railroad. The Washington and Old Dominion Trail runs from the urban city of Shirlington to rural Purcellville.
The 32-mile equestrian trail runs from Vienna west to Purcellville. Take heed that the bridle path and the multi-use paved trail occasionally intersect or merge. Plus both the multi-use and
the equine trails cross high-speed roads used by vehicle traffic.
The yellow balloons on the Google map coarsely show the W&OD trail pathway. The yellow balloons with E indicate
nearby eateries. Click here to view a detailed map showing nearby eateries and to see
locations of grocery stores and pharmacies.
In August 2006 the Washington Post
reported "On any given day, thousands clog the [W&OD] Trail's steep bends and wide-open
expanses, sometimes piling three deep at stop signs posted at the more than 60 roadway intersections along the way."
Watch for others on the trail and especially the intersections of the trail and roads. Within a three-day period in August 2005, ignoring the W&OD
stop signs cost two cyclists their lives when they were struck crossing vehicle roads.
Note that seven fatalities and numerous collisions between users have occurred
in the W&OD Trail's 31 years of multi-use.
W&OD trail access: Reston Area near intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue
I took the photos below in early February 2007 in Reston, Virginia on a bitter cold,
blustery day (wind chill below zero). Though my
ungloved fingers were burning as I
took the photos, numerous walkers were using the W&OD Trail. These photos show where Wiehle Avenue crosses the W&OD
Trail at the busy
intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue.
Washington and Old Dominion Trail at Reston, Virginia. Both of the above photos were taken looking west.
The left photo shows considerate drivers on Wiehle Avenue not blocking the W&OD
Trail while stopped at the Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue traffic light. The paved multi-use trail is to the left of the W&OD trail's stop sign and to the
right is the dirt and gravel
equine trail. Note the drivers have blocked the equine trail. The building marked with the large
"25" is a Fairfax County fire station.
The right photo shows a walker on the equine trail stopping to check traffic on
Wiehle Avenue before
he crosses to continue eastward on the W&OD Trail.
The photos below are looking east at the intersection of the W&OD Trail with
Wiehle Avenue. The picnic table sits along the equine trail. Parked cars barely
seen in the left side of this photo are in the parking lot of three fast food
eateries. With a slight turn to the right I took the right-hand photo to show
the paved multi-use trail is to this picnic table and the eateries.
Commuter parking lot nearby on Sunset Hills Road (west of Wiehle Avenue). Regarding the right photo, Sunset Hills Road (mostly unseen) is to the left of the
lot and (unseen in this photo) the W&OD Trail is on the right where the brush/tree line is
Click here to view a detailed map showing nearby eateries and to see
locations of grocery stores and pharmacies.
W&OD trail access: Sterling Area near intersection of Route 28 (Sully Road) and Steeplechase
Headed North on Route 28, approaching the W&OD trail, you will see the W&OD crossing over Route 28. Almost immediately on your left will be the W&OD parking lot. Entrance is
at the traffic light for Steeplechase Drive. At this traffic light Steeplechase
Drive will be on your right, and the entrance into the
gravelled W&OD parking lot will be on your left.
The parking lot is long and narrow, well suited for parking cars and pickup trucks. But, a pickup with a horse trailer
would need to
park lengthwise, taking up numerous parking spaces. You may be able to U-turn a two-horse (w/o dressing room), but it would
especially with any other vehicles parked near your rig.
In the above left photo you are standing in the W&OD parking lot looking southwards at the W&OD cross-over bridge at Route 28. In
the right photo you are in the W&OD parking lot near the W&OD trail entrance. You are looking northwards in the right photo.
In the below photos: The left photo shows the path to the Trail from the W&OD parking lot. Right photo shows where this access
path meets the W&OD Trail at W&OD mile
Left photo, on the W&OD Trail heading eastwards. The route 28 cross-over bridge is at
the top of the rise.
Right photo, on the W&OD Trail looking westwards.
You can see in the photos the dirt trail along side of the asphalt W&OD trail.
For a horse rider, that dirt trail is very inviting, especially in the photo
below with the mountains visible as the W&OD trail heads westward. As of yet I
have not ridden a horse on the W&OD trail, but this spring I plan on inviting my
super savvy trail riding friend to join me for a ride. We will start further west than Sterling, but first I will visit different access areas to the
W&OD until I find a good area to park horse trailers. I will be taking photos and entering the photos and
comments here once the weather warms up.
In the below photo (W&OD Trail looking west), the pickup truck you see on the Trail is maintenance workers fixing a pot
hole on the trail.
Click here to view a detailed map showing nearby eateries. The Sterling W&OD
Trail access area has nothing at the parking lot area besides parking and access
to the trail. But taking the W&OD trail east, over the cross-over bridge at
Route 28, and continuing on the trail, you approach West Church street. If you click the above link
and view (on the Google map) yellow balloon 5 (marks the Sterling W&OD parking lot) then yellow balloon E shows you nearby eatery.
Other locations to park along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail
Trail mileage and elevation charts
Free full size Wallpaper and Photos! Over 2,000 digital pictures that we have taken.
|Nature, Lovely Gardens, State and National Parks, Military, Mount Vernon,
Sully Plantation, Marine Corps National Museum, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Center, many others, plus original background mosaics.
Check out our other day trips at JustOutsideDC home page.