This list of 20 Northern Virginia Hikes has been 11 years in the making and I hope you find it helpful! Each hike includes a description of the hike, address, hike distance, amenities, and if it’s stroller friendly. I’ve also included our favorite hiking with kids equipment
Criteria: There are dozens of fantastic hikes in the area but my criteria for inclusion:1) All nature hikes which means I didn’t include the waterfront walk in Old Town as much as I like it! and 2) I have visited personally with my kids.
At the end, I’ve included a list of our favorite kid’s hiking gear including inexpensive adjustable hiking poles, our fav binoculars, and for when our kids were little, child carrier.
Table of Contents
- Alexandria County (4)
- Arlington County (3)
- Fairfax County (10)
- Loudoun County (1)
- Prince William County (2)
- Hiking Equipment We Love
- Google Map of All Hikes
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Alexandria Northern Virginia Hikes
Mount Vernon Trail
About the Hike: Paved 18-mile trail from Roosevelt Island all the way to Mount Vernon. Beautiful views of the Potomac as well as shaded forested sections and views of DC. Great for strollers and bikes but be careful on nice weather weekends for a ton of bikes.
Distance: 18 miles
Amenities: Free parking lots along the trail at Roosevelt Island, Mount Vernon, and Belle Haven as well as some overlooks. Permanent restrooms at Belle Haven Park.
Stroller Friendly? Yes! Paved and some parts are smooth boardwalk. But note: very busy with cyclists on nice weather weekends.
Address: Bell Haven Park, Alexandria, VA 22307
Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve (parallel to Mount Vernon Trail)
About the Hike: Lovely dirt path hike parallel to the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac River. There is a little beach with views of sailboats and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. You then can go on a little peninsula for a little way with the river and wetlands on both sides of you. More details in my blog post on Social Distancing Activities in the DMV.
Distance: Not sure but could take less than half an hour to go from the parking lot to the peninsula and back or rejoin the Mount Vernon Trail.
Amenities: Belle Haven Marina which has permanent restrooms.
Stroller Friendly? No, dirt path and rocky.
Address: Enter “Belle Haven Marina" into Google. If you put in the name of the park, Google takes you to a random spot on the bike trail!
Ben Brenman Park - Alexandria
About the Hike: Lovely park in between Eisenhower and Duke Street with a duck pond, boardwalk, and fenced playground. Others have told me there are extensive paved trails all around the park and connecting to Holmes Run. More pics on Instagram here.
Distance: Half hour to go around the pond or longer to connect to Holmes Run.
Amenities: Paved trails and restrooms near the entrance.
Stroller Friendly? Yes, all paved.
Address: 4800 Brenman Park Dr.
Winkler Forest Preserve - Alexandria
About the Hike: This botanical preserve right next to the Mark Center is such a hidden gem that I have driven past it for 11 years! So many fun surprises in the 44 acres including a giant lodge, small waterfall, beautiful flowers, and wood-carved everything. You can tell this is a place of love and care. My kids said it was “soooo amazing!”
Distance: 1-mile loop but you can find other side trails as well.
Amenities: Open 8:30 - 4 PM daily and gates will be locked at 4 pm. No restrooms. Check out a reel of this hidden gem here.
Stroller Friendly? No, recommend bringing a baby carrier.
Address: 5400 Roanoke Ave, Alexandria, VA
Arlington Best Hikes in Northern Virginia
About the Hike: One of the most famous trails in the area comprising of 45 miles of trails beginning in Shirlington, Arlington to Purcellville, Virginia. I just learned there is a 32-mile stretch that can be used by equestrians for horses!
Distance: 45 miles but you can do just a portion of course!
Amenities: Tons of parks are along the route. 3 that we love as a family are Bluemont Park and Benjamin Bannecker Parkand Glencaryln Park (reel here)
Stroller Friendly? Yes, all paved.
Address: See this incredible interactive map of the trail to see parking spots and parks along the trail.
Theodore Roosevelt Island (Address is DC, but parking lot is in Arlington!)
About the Hikes: 3 hikes at Theodore Roosevelt Island including the Swamp Trail (1.5 mile loop), Woods Trail (1/3 mile), and Upland Trail (3/4 mile) Great views of Georgetown and Rosslyn.
Amenities: Restrooms are closed for the winter usually from October to April but there is a portable toilet nearby.
Stroller Friendly? No, the paths are all dirt and rocks.
Address: George Washington Memorial Parkway Northbound lanes between Roosevelt Bridge and Key Bridge Arlington, VA 22209
Potomac Overlook Park - Arlington
About the Hike: Lovely park along the Potomac River in Arlington. Great trails with interesting spots including Native American ruins, hills, and overlooks.
Distance: 2 miles of nature trails
Amenities: Great nature center with restrooms, reptiles, and raptors! Check out a Reel of our day here.
Stroller Friendly? Hikes are not stroller friendly but the nature center is!
Address: 2845 Marcey Rd, Arlington, Virginia
Fairfax County Northern Virginia Hikes
Great Falls - McLean
About the Hike: Perhaps the most famous northern Virginia hike in the area! The Great Falls on the Potomac River can be seen from the Virginia and Maryland sides. The Virginia side costs $20 per vehicle but you can use it for the MD side C&O Canal National Historic Park. (I wrote about the MD side in this post if you want to check it out too.)
There are 15 miles of hikes you can do at Great Falls Park and some are shared with bikes and horses. Highly recommend checking out the downloadable map ahead of time to pick your trail.
Distance: 6 Hikes ranging from 1.8 miles to 3.2 miles.
Stroller Friendly? Gravel and some hikes are very rocky and not stroller friendly.
Address: 9200 Old Dominion Dr. McLean, VA 22102
Huntley Meadows Park - Franconia
About the Hike: We love Huntley Meadows in all seasons! Largest wetlands in the area with 1500 square meters, great boardwalks, nature play areas, and incredible diversity of birds and wildlife. More details in my blog post on Social Distancing Activities in the DMV.
Distance: 0.5 mile raised boardwalk plus multiple other trails of packed dirt. See helpful maps here.
Stroller Friendly? Yes the boardwalk is!
Address: 3701 Lockheed Blvd Alexandria, VA
Chessie's Nature Trail
About the Hike: This is my favorite kid-friendly trail in Northern Virginia because it incorporates, nature, music, and a scavenger hunt! Located behind Chessie's Big Backyard Playground at Lee District Rec Center in Franconia. Take a picture at the beginning of the trail to search for the animal sculptures. Also, 5 musical instrument stations throughout the walk to keep it interesting for kids (and adults too!) Lots more information about the playground and splash ground here.
Distance: 0.4 mile paved trail.
Amenities: Permanent restrooms and splash ground in the summer.
Stroller Friendly? Yes!
Address: 6601 Telegraph Rd Franconia, Virginia
Burke Lake Park - Fairfax Station
About the Hike: Burke Lake Park is a destination lake in the area with 888 acres, a beautiful lake with tons to do! It is free for Fairfax county residents BUT most days (even once on a Saturday) they waive the $10 weekend fee for out-of-county. We've been coming here since the kids were little to see the ducks on the short pier, hike a little and play on the many amenities.
Distance: 4.7 mile lake packed dirt trail (the lake is kind of like a finger lake so you think it looks shorter than it actually is!)
Amenities: Permanent restrooms at the Ice Cream Parlor, carousel, mini train, boat rental, mini golf and disc golf course. More details here.
Stroller Friendly? I have seen strollers but I would not recommend them because of a lot of loose rocks and tree roots.
Address: 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA
Lake Accotink Park - Springfield
About the Hike: My personal favorite local park! Beautiful views, paved portion for kids with scooters, water dam and sometimes, eagles! More details about Lake Accotink Park here.
Distance: 3.8 mile loop around the lake with a mix of paved and packed dirt trails. You can just explore the paved part area around the lake too.
Amenities: Carousel, boat rental, mini-golf, and a small playground. Free to enter but rides cost around $3.
Stroller Friendly? I have seen strollers but I would not recommend them on the dirt parts because of a lot of loose rocks and tree roots.
Address: 7500 Accotink Park Rd. Springfield, VA
Lake Mercer - Fairfax Station
About the Hike: Lake Mercer feels like a hidden gem in the suburbs! It is located in Fairfax Station close to Burke Lake but much less visitors. Paved all the way around so you can bike, stroller, wheelchair or scooter! Lots more info on this post about Lake Mercer here.
Distance: 5.6 mile loop of beautiful trails around the lake including high up on the man-made dam.
Amenities: No restrooms.
Stroller Friendly? Yes!
Address: 9500 Silverbrook Road but main entrance is off the busy Hooes Road. Only 10 parking spots there. I recommend parking on Jeffrey Court which is a residential cul-de-sav but legal to park. There is a trail entrance at the end of the circle. If you turn right at the trail fork you go up the hill to the dam and left snakes around the lake.
Gerry Connolly Trail - Springfield
About the Hike: Another hidden gem is the Gerry Connolly Trail in Springfield with 5 Stepping Stone bridges. My husband found this on one of his bike rides and my kids love it! More details and pics in my blog post on Social Distancing Activities in the DMV.
Distance: The trail is actually 40 miles long but the portion list in the blog post above that we like to do is less than a mile.
Amenities: No real amenities like restrooms because it's a portion of the trail.
Stroller Friendly? No.
Address: We park at 8100 Lake Pleasant Dr, Newington VA, and walk down the trail to get to the water crossings.
Scotts Run Nature Preserve - McLean
About the Hike: Gorgeous hike with stepping stone bridges, more difficult hiking, and a small waterfall. This hike is more challenging than the others with steeper inclines and is recommended for elementary-age kids and above. More info on my FTG post on Scotts Run Nature Preserve here.
Distance: Took about 45 minutes to get to the waterfalls but not sure of the distance. The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail continues through Scotts Run so check out their map here for more info.
Amenities: 1 small parking lot and 1 larger one but fills up on nice weather weekends. I believe 1 portable restroom but not 100% sure.
Stroller Friendly? No. Rocky, water crossings, and inclines.
Address: 7400 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA
Hidden Pond Park - Springfield
About the Hike: Lovely nature center, playground, small pond, and extensive trails in Springfield. More details in my blog post on Social Distancing Activities in the DMV.
Distance: Not sure but a couple of miles. The paved trail around the pond takes about 20 minutes. Map of trails here.
Amenities: Restrooms in the Nature Center, Parking lots, Picnic Pavilion, and great fenced playground.
Stroller Friendly? Yes! All paved.
Address: 8511 Greeley Blvd. Springfield VA
Bull Run Regional Park - Centreville
About the Hike: 1,500 acre park in Centreville. We went most recently for the Bluebells in April and it was beautiful! It is the trailhead of the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. (Cost for those outside of northern Virginia at about $8 per vehicle but when we went on a weekday there was no one in the entrance booth.) And I have a reel of the Blue Bells last April!
Distance: 19.7 mile Bull Run Occoquan Trail
Amenities: Lots of restrooms, playgrounds, and a disc golf course. Huge fields.
Stroller Friendly? You could walk on the roads with a stroller but the Blue Bell hikes we went on and others I saw were a mix of dirt, rocks, and uneven boardwalks. Would recommend a baby carrier.
Address: 7700 Bull Run Drive Centreville, VA
Loudoun County Northern Virginia Hikes
Bear's Den Overlook - One of our favorite Northern Virginia Hikes
About the Hike: Did you know you can hike part of the Appalachian Trail just an hour away from DC? This was our favorite family hike of this year. Huge parking lot and well-marked trails. Does have some rock scrambles so I would say good for ages 4 and up. Gorgeous views of the valley. More details are in the Bluemont section of my post on 18 Road Trip Ideas from DC. (Including a great family-friendly farm, vineyards, and breweries nearby.)
Distance: 1.9 mile hike from the parking lot to the overlook.
Amenities: Large parking lot but
Stroller Friendly? No, lots of rocks and some climbing.
Address: “Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Bluemont, VA 20135” for Parking Lot. (Google maps says 57 miles from downtown DC) OR try “Snickers Gap Appalachian Trailhead” in Google maps.
Prince William County Best Northern Virginia Hikes
Occoquan Wildlife Nature Refuge
About the Hike: Over 600 acres of wildlife nature refuge right on the river. This is also a popular place to see nesting Bald Eagles! There are 4 miles of trails and we took the Fox Road to Lake Drive loop which was lovely. More details in my blog post on Social Distancing Activities in the DMV and see a reel of our outing here.
Distance: 4 miles of trails. The Fox Road to Lake Drive loop is 1 mile and has lots of ways to combine them.
Amenities: Permanent restrooms at the parking lot. Free parking in the main parking lot. Make sure to enter 14050 Dawson Beach Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22191 into your maps app and to go all the way to the main parking lot. (There is a small parking spot outside the gate but you will have to walk over a mile to get to the main trailheads!) **And please note this is a DIFFERENT park from Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, VA!**
Stroller Friendly? Yes but packed dirt is not paved.
Address: 14050 Dawson Beach Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22191
Neabsco Creek Boardwalk
About the Hike: Great, short boardwalk in Prince William County that explores the wetlands habitat. Tons of birds so make sure you bring binoculars! More details in my post on the Neabsco Boardwalk here.
Distance: 3/4 mile boardwalk
Amenities: Playground near the parking lot and portable restroom.
Stroller Friendly? Yes! and great for Wheelchairs as well.
Address: 15125 Blackburn Road Woodbridge, VA 22191
Hiking Equipment with Kids We Love
Here's a couple of hiking equipment that we've enjoyed using on our hikes in northern Virginia (and in Switzerland!)
After trying out tons of types, these Sunday Afternoon hats have been my favorite for the last 6 years. Baby and Toddler version here and my son's 5 year old Adventure Hat here. (5 full stars on Amazon) I love the UV protection, safety chin strap and neck portion.
Adjustable Hiking Poles
My kids commandeered my husband's hiking poles so instead of buying another REI pair (over $100), I found these great Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles for less than a quarter that for the kids! They work just as well and are adjustable to the kids' height.
Child Carrier - great for Northern Virginia Hikes with Babies & Toddlers
A little pricy, but a child carrier is a great addition to hiking with a baby or toddler. This Deuter Child Carrier has great ventilation, fully adjustable and hone has a max weight of 48 lbs.