Hiking and Trails
Loudoun is an outdoor playground with spectacular scenic trails from the banks of the Potomac River in the east to the crests of the Blue Ridge Mountains out west. Add in the paved Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad Regional Park - the narrowest park in Virginia - and you have a slate of trails that suit both leisurely hikers and serious trailblazers.
With so many options, It’s hard to pick where to begin, but Algonkian Regional Park on the tree-lined banks of the Potomac in Sterling is a must.. An 838-acre park with miles of paved and natural trails through woodland and open fields, the highlight is a section on steep cliffs overlooking the river. There are a dozen rustic winterized riverfront cabins here for rent - perfect to watch sunrises in the morning.
South of Leesburg, Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is a little known 725-acre preserve featuring more than 20 miles of marked trails through dense woodland in the rolling hills and valleys along Goose Creek. Protected by its Nature Preserve designation, hikers get to see a range of forest wildlife and flora.
In the Blue Ridge Mountains out west is the granddaddy of them all: a 13-mile stretch of the world-famous Appalachian Trail known to hikers the world over as “The Rollercoaster.” The rugged, swooping section runs either side of the cliff-edge rocks at Bear’s Den Overlook, famous for spectacular views of the Shenandoah River Valley. An early 20th Century stone lodge at Bear’s Den is a popular overnight stop for AT “through-hikers”.
On lower ground, meanwhile, perfectly dissecting the county east to west, is the aforementioned 45-mile-long W&OD Trail. Easily the most popular park in the county, its narrow paved course runs from Sterling in eastern Loudoun to Purcellville out west on the bed of the old Washington & Old Dominion railway line. While you can horseback it in sections, it’s best for cycling or hiking, particularly the flat stretch between Hamilton and Purcellville, beautiful farm fields all around.
Get ready to hit the trail!