Potomac Heritage Trail, Colvin Run to Leesburg, VA in 1 day

Potomac Heritage Trail, Colvin Run to Leesburg, VA in 1 day

Postby Tom » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:03 pm

A coalition of groups opened a trail along the south bank of the Potomac River west of Washington, DC. From Great Falls, VA to Leesburg, VA, the trail is slightly less than thirty miles. I hiked it in one day. The scenery is excellent. The elevation gain is moderate: where the banks of the River form steep cliffs, the planners of the trail took it inland, over hills, before it returns the flat floodplains. Maintenance of the trail is excellent, too: on Nov. 11th, I encountered only four blown-down logs blocking the trail. The trail has numerous facilities, such as toilets and water fountains, although some are closed seasonally. The only stores, which I know of on the trail, are either the visitors center at Great Falls National Park (eastern end) or the golf clubhouse at Algonquian Regional Park (midpoint). Many footbridges adorn the trail. Because I was hiking end-to-end, I took a bus to Colvin Run Mill; at the western end of the trail, it intersects with a bus route which could return the hiker to the inner Washington suburbs via Loudoun County Transit, which stops running at 7 p.m. weekdays, and transferring to the Fairfax Connector, which runs until late in the evening. A first edition of a map of the trail:

http://www.nps.gov/pohe/planyourvisit/u ... 202007.pdf

The missing link is the section which follows the busy, high-speed Virginia Route 7. Hiking on the shoulder of that road was not fun.

A hike of this trail could be combined either with a thirty-mile hike along the C&O Towpath from Leesburg back to the inner Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, or with a hike along the asphalt W&OD Trail from Leesburg back to the inner Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.
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Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:47 pm

Re: Potomac Heritage Trail, Colvin Run to Leesburg, VA in 1 day

Postby tazie » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:24 am

This sounds wonderful. Does the trail actually access the C&O Towpath, since you mentioned you could combine hikes? Did you hike it east or west/bound? How much time total for your hike? I would love to try this as a long day hike. Thanks for the information.
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Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:19 am

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