Washington & Old Dominion Trail a great place to explore on a run

Here’s the start of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I attended an out-of-town work meeting on Friday, and when I looked up the location on Google Maps, I saw that it was next to two running trails.

Here I am at the start of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I was in the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, for a quarterly MATPRA — Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance — meeting. The meeting was at New District Brewing Company, and right nearby was the start of the 45-mile Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, which I had never run before.


The meeting ended at 2 p.m., so afterward, I changed into my running clothes — shorts and a short-sleeved shirt on this pleasant day — and charged my phone in my car for a little bit so I would have enough battery to listen to podcasts on the new Aftershokz Trekz Air that I’m testing for BibRave (more to come on those headphones later).

Here’s a view of one of the community gardens along the trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I ran to the trailhead and began heading west on the trail. It’s a paved trail with a line down the middle to separate the sides. This was a leisurely run for me; since it was a new-to-me location, I stopped to take photos and wasn’t worried about speed.

Not too far into the trail, I saw a sign for the brewery where I’d just been — the sign also noted there were water, air, bike tools and restrooms there. I thought that was cool that people could learn about what was nearby. I didn’t see other signs like this, but I assume they were likely later in the trail (spoiler alert: I didn’t run the 45 miles out and back).

The trail has mile markers every 1.5 miles. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

The first 1.5 miles of the trail was definitely a city-like environment, with some road crossings. After that, it changed to a more woodsy feel. I noticed community gardens along the trail, which I thought was cool. They didn’t seem to really be in use during this season, but I liked that they were along the trail.

Here’s a view of the trail once I got more into the woodsy area. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

There were bikers and runners on the trail, and I also saw kids that looked like they were walking home from school.

There were lots of places where people could get onto the trail, and among the things I noticed were an area off the trail where kids could ride bikes and playgrounds. There were also bathrooms along the trail — one of which I stopped at near my turnaround point.

I didn’t have a set distance in mind, but I had the time to run during the day, I felt good and the weather was nice, so I decided on seven miles, ending my run back at the brewery. Because of the way I’d calculated, I ended up with 7.25 miles.

There are creeks along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

While there, I was planning to sit by myself, but was invited to sit with a couple other people — who turned out to also be runners! We ended up playing a board game together while there.

I took a selfie with this marker along the trail, which was near a railroad car. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Want to learn more? Here are links to the Nova Parks website, with a trail map, and Friends of the W&OD Trail websites.

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12 thoughts on “Washington & Old Dominion Trail a great place to explore on a run

  1. Yep, that’s a great trail. The section you ran on with the playground is one of the nicest for a while but the whole trail is great. I’ve only gone to the end on my bike. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great looking place to run! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m up north. Those AfterShokz are AWESOME. No gear has changed the quality of my workouts more than they have.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I went to DC with my husband a few years ago and saw that trail (I didn’t do any running in DC, but we walked a ton). Looks like a great place to run and I’m so jealous of cities that have trails like this. I think there are even some race on this one.

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  4. Hi Vanessa,
    I own the brewery you stopped at! It’s a great little community around here and we were happy to see you stop in. If you enjoyed the beer we always appreciate a good rating from out of town folks on FB and Yelp. Look forward to seeing you next time!

    Liked by 1 person

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