Photo Credit: @vanipop

In many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has reverted us to that moment in our childhood when we were stuck indoors and all we wanted was to be able to go out and play with our friends. We get it, fresh air, sunshine, beautiful views, those are all important to nurturing our souls, and Loudoun has plenty to spare. While we welcome you to explore some of Loudoun's better hiking options, above all we ask that you do so as a responsible citizen, for your health and ours. Please respect social distancing practices, and any posted signs of trail/park closures. As of this posting all county parks and trail systems remained open, but please understand that is a fluid situation, and we recommend you check the Loudoun County Parks, Recreation, & Community Services page before setting off on your adventure.

 

Riverside

Algonkian Regional Park

Situated on the Potomac River in Sterling, Algonkian offers 838 acres of outdoor adventure with paved and natural surface hiking trails. The park includes natural wooded areas, open fields and beautiful views of the Potomac River. Bring the dog, or children! Here you’ll find stunning sunrise and sunset views, lots of wildlife and peaceful scenery.

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

Preserving the site of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, this park offers a one mile hiking trail with interpretive signs. The national cemetery here is one of the smallest in the country. Don’t miss the amazing view of the bluff itself, which overlooks the Potomac!

Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park and Kephart Bridge Landing

The property includes 122 acres of passive parkland with access to the Potomac River and Goose Creek at the non-motorized boat landing at Kephart Bridge Landing in Lansdowne (43942 Riverpoint Dr). The park is home to the historic Elizabeth Mills canal lock system and contains a section of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail!

Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

Enjoy winding, authentic nature trails and wooded areas at Red Rock Wilderness Overlook in Leesburg. Along the 1.2 mile loop, you’ll find several historic buildings and numerous varieties of native plants and wildlife. Climb to the overlook to take in panoramic views of the Potomac River and distant foothills. This “out of the way” park offers trails ranging from moderate to strenuous, as well as peace from the hustle and bustle surrounding it.

White's Ford Regional Park

Explore 295 acres along the Potomac River in historic White’s Ford Regional Park. Once the home of Elijah White, this riverside park is the site of the confederate army’s 1862 crossing into Maryland. Launch your canoe or kayak into the Potomac River, or follow miles of hiking trails guided by interpretive signs.
 

Inland

Appalachian Trail

Currently the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is asking hikers to postpone their plans for hiking the AT. The trail has become overcrowded as people look to escape their Shelter-in-Place routines. Visit Loudoun echos their concerns and asks everyone to only venture out into nature if they can safely practice social distancing. Stretching over 2,000 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, the AT enters Virginia along the western edge of Loudoun County where it soon ascends and descends about a dozen times, earning the nickname “Virginia’s Rollercoaster.” The AT can be accessed from Route 7 at Bears Den Overlook and Pine Grove.

Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve

This pesticide-free, 725 acre nature preserve features over 20 miles of trails through various habitats among the rolling hills along Goose Creek, ensuring that visitors have ample opportunity to observe the diverse wildlife population. All plants, animals, habitats and cultural resources are protected due to the Nature Preserve designation. In 2016, goats from Willowsford Farm were guided through the preserve to manage unwanted vegetation by eating it!

Claude Moore Park

Eleven miles of hiking trails take you through woodlands, wildflower meadows, wetlands, and ponds – a peaceful walk in the woods perfect for bird watching or taking photos.

Rust Nature Sanctuary

Enjoy an equal mix of pristine nature and local history at Rust Sanctuary in Leesburg, Virginia. Walk 68 acres of wooded trails through unspoiled meadows and forests in the nature sanctuary. Register for the Fresh Air Kids Nature Program and other Audubon Naturalist Society courses to learn about local ecosystems, flora and fauna. The sanctuary also features Rust Manor House, and a beautiful garden with majestic trees.

Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park

A popular 45-mile trail in Northern Virginia, the W&OD runs from Shirlington to Purcellville and offers a paved path the entire way. In Loudoun, you can catch the trail in Sterling, Ashburn, Leesburg or Purcellville. The former Washington & Old Dominion Railroad roadbed runs through urban heartland and the Virginia countryside — the best of both worlds!