Spring is so close, you can almost feel your allergies kicking in. And for some of us, this means dusting off our running shoes and ditching the gym for some fresh air!
The treadmill has its perks, but it just can’t compare to the satisfaction that comes with running outside. After all, we’re fortunate enough to be living so close to some of the best trails in the nation. No, I don’t mean the paths in D.C., but rather the gorgeous paths that are waiting to be explored in your own backyard!
Here are just a few popular courses in NOVA that runners enjoy:
Okay, perhaps this is a given. However, there’s a reason Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park is so widely popular among joggers. Approximately 45 miles in length, this course holds territory in Arlington, Loudoun, and Fairfax Counties. So even if you’ve logged the majority of your miles along this course, it’s likely there are a few hidden gems still waiting to be traversed. And if you get lost in the calming landscape of the trails, when you look up you might find yourself in an entirely new area as W&OD connects to many other prominent routes, including Martha Custis Trail, Cross County Trail, and Mount Vernon Trail.
Which brings me to my next recommendation …
Mount Vernon Trail
Another favored hotspot, Mount Vernon Trail offers a diverse array of scenery along its 18-mile course. A path paved along the Potomac River, this panoramic trail is as easy as it is entertaining. It stretches through bustling Old Town Alexandria, continues around Arlington National Cemetery, and comes to an end at Theodore Roosevelt Island, another great destination for runners.
Cross County Trail
Much like W&OD Trail, Cross County Trail is huge, elaborate, and may be just what you’re looking for if you enjoy a challenge. While it is generally maintained, joggers will experience a more natural path to test their stamina. However, that’s not to say beginners should disregard this route until they’ve properly built their endurance. There are plenty of trails you can follow that are flatter, such as the ironically named Difficult Run.
BONUS: Best Place to Grab a Post-Run Beer
It’s common practice for joggers to celebrate a decent day of cardio with a refreshing beer. And if it isn’t tradition, then I say we get it together and clock in some extra miles making a beeline for the nearest pub! The next time you and your friends overcome a personal best, make sure to honor your achievement with the best beer in all of NOVA!
What’s your favorite trail to run in NOVA? Let us know in the comments!