One of the challenges during the coronavirus pandemic is ensuring that we remain active. While it is important to maintain social distancing, walking and biking are permissible options for remaining active. In San Francisco, for example, where residents were recently ordered to shelter-in-place, “the directive allows for people to go outside and engage in outdoor activity, such as riding, running, and walking, as long as people practice safe social distancing (stay 6 feet apart) and do not gather in groups.”
The information below highlights three representative Alexandria trails that are suitable for family members of all ages. Information about additional Alexandria Trails is here. For more information about walking and biking during coronavirus, check out these articles: Cycling during coronavirus and Walking during coronavirus.
Important Note: We recommend following CDC’s guidelines on not gathering in groups of ten or more and social distancing (keeping at least six feet away from other trail users and avoiding crowds). CDC has been updating their guidance regularly, so here is a link to the most recent information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
Four Mile Run Park Trail at 4131 Mount Vernon Avenue
Enjoy an easy loop walk or ride just over one mile. Features of the park include wetlands, viewing sites, interpretative signs and two bridges for the kids to check out the water below.
The ride can be extended over to Arlington’s Four Mile Run Trail using the Richmond Highway Bridge and returning to the parking lot via the Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge. This loop ride would be about two miles and would include a close-up of Arlington’s waste treatment plant and a viewing platform to see Alexandria’s restored wetlands.
Parking for Four Mile Run Park is available at 4131 Mount Vernon Avenue.
Holmes Run Trail
The Holmes Run Trail is currently disrupted by multiple detours, but here are descriptions of currently-available sections, suitable for walking and biking.
Dora Kelley Nature Park Section
This section of the Holmes Run Trail can be accessed by car from N. Chambliss Street at Holmes Run Parkway or from Sanger Avenue at Harwich Court. Coming from N. Chambliss walkers or riders can proceed south-south east on a relatively flat trail. Along this route, you will see a freshwater marsh, with painted turtles and other species of wildlife, some of which are found nowhere else in Alexandria. Here is a interpretive guide for what you will see along this 0.45 mile path. An alternative route for older kids would be to climb up to Sanger Avenue. This trail is .23 miles in length from N. Chambliss.
For the more adventuresome, you can head southwest across the Chambliss Street Bridge then north into Fairfax County along the Holmes Run Trail. This ride is about 1.20 miles in length and features several fair weather crossings (feet can get wet!) and will bring you to Columbia Pike, just below the Lake Barcroft Dam.
N, Ripley Street Bridge to Eisenhower Avenue Section
This section of the trail can be accessed by car along Holmes Run Parkway near N. Ripley Street, at the Ben Brenman Park or from the Cameron Run Regional Park parking lot on Eisenhower Avenue. Starting at Ripley Street, the trail runs east for 1.8 miles to the Cameron Run Regional Park. Just past the Duke Street underpass, there is a slight detour that will require young riders to dismount and walk a short distance. Along the trail are bridges crossing Holmes Run that provide access to the All Veterans Park and to the Ben Brenman Park. Just east of the Cameron Run Regional Park, is a newly renovated Lake Cook with looping trails, fishing, educational exhibits and public art.
Potomac Yard Trail
The Potomac Yard Trail extends north for 2.1 miles from E. Braddock Road (across from the 7-11 at 421 E. Braddock Road) to Four Mile Run at the Alexandria/Arlington border. The trail crosses Potomac Avenue, just north of E. Glebe Road, at about 1.5 miles from the start at Braddock Road. Interpretative signs about the area’s railroad history are located along the trail and there are several opportunities to see rail and subway cars running along the tracks.
Parking is available along Potomac and Mainline Avenues.
Additional information: Cycling during coronavirus, Walking during coronavirus, and Alexandria’s Trail network.
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