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The Washington & Old Dominion Trail (W&OD or "Wad") is a great rail trail through the Northern Virginia counties. The entire 45 miles is paved with nine foot wide asphalt and has a painted yellow center line. There is also a parallel horse trail along much of the trail (which can be a nice diversion for ATBs). The only real complaints about this trail are its popularity (it can be quite crowded on some days) and the fact that much of it follows a power line right-of-way.
Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! Trail maps are for informational and interpretive purposes only and are not meant for navigational purposes, nor do they take into account level of skills or ability required to navigate such trails. The Chesapeake Conservancy, National Park Service, and/or the individual trail associations assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials.
The park is open all year, from dawn to dusk
The 100-foot wide Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (W&OD) is one of the narrowest parks in the commonwealth of Virginia, but also one of the longest — 45 miles in length. The W&OD takes its name from the railroad whose trains ran along the right-of-way from 1859 until 1968.
The entrepreneurs who founded the rail line dreamed of bringing coal and other riches from the Appalachians to the Port of Alexandria, but those dreams were never fully realized. Less than a decade after it was built, the railroad was almost destroyed during the Civil War.
After the war, the railroad was slowly rebuilt and then saw a series of changes of ownership and objectives. The heyday of the W&OD came early in the 20th Century, when it provided service three times daily from Alexandria to Falls Church, Leesburg and Purcellville, with stops at such hamlets as Dunn Loring, Hunter Station and Paeonian Springs.