Hiking is a great activity for all ages, fitness levels, and interests. Trails around Ashburn, Virginia, range from easy to difficult, offer many different lengths, and always come with a rewarding time in nature. Make time in your life for some hiking adventures alone, with family, or with friends. You’re sure to be thankful for the time set aside from the busyness of life spent outside, breathing fresh air, exploring your surroundings, and taking care of your body. Here are five of the best places to hike near Ashburn.
Washington and Old Dominion Trail
What once was the roadbed for the Washington and Old Dominion railroad back in 1847 has since been converted into a 45-mile paved trail. The main paved trail was started in 1974 and finished in 1988. Run, walk, cycle, or skate along the paved trail and keep an e.ye out for hiking trails along the way. There are tons of off-shoots of the trail that provide fun and challenging hikes. An adjacent 32-mile equestrian trail also provides more of a hiking atmosphere, but it’s very flat, making it ideal for young or novice hikers.
This trail system is a park of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park that offers lots of fun things to do along the trail. Stop at local shops and restaurants as the trail passes through neighborhoods and enjoy the views of nature as it passes through the Northern Virginia countryside. Enjoy this massive trail system any day of the week and any time of day at no charge.
There are lots of parking areas along the trail. The nearest trail entrance and parking area to Ashburn are at Hampshire Park on Smith Switch Road. There’s even a nice rest stop called Smith Switch Station with picnic tables and benches right near the parking lot.
Potomac Heritage Trail
Head over to the Potomac River near the Trump National Golf Club, about 10 miles from Ashburn, and jump on the Potomac Heritage Trail. This trail follows along the Potomac River for about 20 miles. You can connect to several other trails along the way for more distance and exploration. If you stick to the Heritage Trail, you’ll face a moderately difficult hike with lots of muddy sections, overgrowth, and other fun hiking challenges.
This hike can easily be made friendly for kids by keeping it short, but if you’re looking for a long, exhilarating trail run, take on the whole thing. Enter the trail at the Algonkian Park parking area on Park Chalet Place. The Potomac Heritage Trail is open daily throughout the year and there’s no charge to use it. There are tons of interesting and historical sites along the way, so be sure to bring a map so you don’t miss anything.
Claude Moore Park
Another great place to hike nearby is Claude Moore Park. It’s about 15 minutes from the center of Ashburn and welcomes visitors year-round from dawn until dusk every day. This is a welcoming green space for people to go to get away from the city and enjoy nature.
Stop by the visitor’s center to learn more about the park, use the restrooms, and check out the interactive displays that talk about the history of the park and its native wildlife species. The Discovery Room even provides hands-on exhibits for little ones to enjoy. You’ll also find two fishing ponds, a sports area with various courts, and historic areas with interpretive signs as you explore Claude Moore Park.
There are more than 11 miles worth of trails within the park with varying difficulty levels and distances. The Scout Trail is the most popular trail in the park. It covers 3.3 miles and offers some fun activities along the way. This is a great trail to take if you’re looking for a good hike that’s easy to navigate. It forms a loop around the entire park, so you can see all that Claude Moore Park has to offer while you get in some exercise.
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
Just 10 miles west of Ashburn, Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve offers 695 acres of beautiful fields, ponds, streams, and forests. The preserve is only accessible through the main entrance gate on The Woods Road. Hours change depending on the season and the preserve is only open Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays and Sundays. Do some catch and release fishing in one of the largest ponds on the preserve or watch for wildlife as you walk through the fields.
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve features more than 20 miles of hiking trails. Grab a map from the visitor’s center before starting your hike to make sure you stay on track. The most popular trail loops are around 3 miles long and rated as easy. Check out the Goose Creek and Cathedral trail loop and the West Arrowhead Ridge and Bluebell Loop if you’re looking for a good place to start. Trails are for pedestrians only, so no bicycles, dogs, or horses are allowed.
Two Creeks Trail Area
Two Creeks Trail Area is about 7 miles northwest of Ashburn. This trail area is actually an off-shoot of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail along Sycolin Creek near where its intersection with Goose Creek. It’s an easy 2-mile loop trail that welcomes all ages and skill levels. Two Creeks Trail Area allows mountain biking and dog-walking, so stay aware of other trail users during your hike.
The easiest way to access this trail is by parking off of Cochran Mill Road where it intersects with the Washington and Old Dominion Trail and walking about half a mile south on the trail to the Two Creeks entrance. This area is open for hiking throughout the year from sunrise to sunset.
Get outside and enjoy a hike at these nearby places recommended by our Port Potomac preschool. Have you done a lot of hiking in the Ashburn area? Did we hit on all of your favorite spots, or are there a few we need to check out? Let us know and maybe we’ll even add them to our list.