Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.
It took 5 years and a pandemic for my family to find random short cuts to the W&OD Trail, which have led to other great discoveries.
I’ve also noticed the W&OD Trail is getting really crowded, especially on great weather days, so I am sharing some of my favorite places to explore for a walk, kid friendly hike, or our personal favorite — places to throw rocks into water. Given the CDC guidance right now on walking or biking to these places, please share other hidden paths with us in the comments so others might explore their own neighborhoods as well!
- Wildwood Park: Access points at the end of Mashie Drive near OLGC, the end of Delano/Alma, the end of Valley, and from the intersection of Fellini Ct/W&OD Trail — short path with lots of places to jump on rocks, see deer and throw stones into the water. I’ve seen people fishing in this water, but I have yet to see any actual fish.
- Northside Park: The current location for the “LOVE” letter installation — access at the end of Glyndon, Talisman Drive or the W&OD Trail.
- Foxstone Park: Paved and gravel paths along with a stream. Access at the end of Druid Hill Rd NE, John Marshall Dr NE and Ridge Lane.
- Wolftrap Stream Valley Park: Includes a basketball court, paved path, and a stream. Access behind Cardinal Hill Swim Club or Talisman Drive.
- Daniels Run Park: Many easy access points along Old Lee Highway side streets (Heritage, Parklane, Embassy, Queen Anne and St Andrews) located next to Army Navy Country Club. Gravel paths, stream and easy hill climb.
- Difficult Run: Begins in Great Falls/McLean and has a 9 mile loop trail that ends by Colvin Run Road; there’s also a Difficult Run Stream Valley Park in Oakton which runs along Difficult Run River.
- Peterson Lane Park: We discovered this hidden path when we first moved to Vienna — there’s an access point on Riviera Drive as well as the main access on Vale. There are basketball hoops, as well as a trail with streams.
If none of these are easily accessible to you, you can use Trail Buddy on the Fairfax County website so explore other paths near you. We have found this to be a great way to get the kids outside and burn off some energy with the walk there and home.