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Potomac Heritage Trail Hike

Say, looking over where we’ve hiked over the past year, we didn't ever go to Potomac Overlook Regional Park, so let’s go enjoy a walk along the Potomac Heritage Trail!

The route: From the parking lot of the Potomac Overlook Regional Park, we’ll walk through the park aling Donaldson Run to the Potomac and follow the Potomac Heritage Trail downstream to Windy Run. At Windy Run we'll ascend the river bank into Windy Run Park and return to Potomac Overlook Regional Park along Lorcom Lane, N. Nelly Custis Drive and Military Road.

The walk is a loop of around 4.5 miles and should take about 2 hours at a moderate pace, given stops and broken ground. The surface is a mix of pavement, gravel and dirt, very rocky in places, with some elevation changes.

Cautionary notes:

  • The ascent from the Potomac at Windy Run is marked with warning signs cautioning visitors about missing guardrails. I didn't find the climb overly difficult and the guardrails seemed intact, but those who have any misgivings whatsoever should retrace the route to the start point rather than finishing the loop. We want you to be safe!
  • Be aware of traffic during our brief transit of Military Road, N. Custis Drive and Lorcom Lane.

A Google map of the walk is located at http://tinyurl.com/aocwgsy

Where to meet: We'll meet in the parking lot at 2872 N Marcey Rd, Arlington, VA 22207. GPS =[masked], [masked]

How to get there: The park entrance is between Chain Bridge Road (VA-120) and Spout Run Parkway (VA-124) at the intersection of N. Marcey and Military Roads, 2633 Military Road, Arlington, VA. At the intersection, turn northeast onto N. Marcey Road and follow it to the parking lot at 2872 N Marcey Rd. (It's past the Donaldson Run Recreation Assn parking lot.) Detailed directions are available here: http://www.nvrpa.org/park/potomac_overlook/content/hours_and_directions

What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired. (Leashes are required.) The forecast is partly sunny and 41 degrees, so consider wearing the layered look. There are stream crossings and the trail may be muddy in spots, so a spare pair of shoes and socks for after the hike is a good idea. For liability legal purposes, please remember this is a kid-free zone, no one under 18 is allowed.

Administrative stuff: There are restrooms and water fountains at the parking lot. (See link to the park map below.)

After the walk: For those who would like to grab a bite or a beverage afterwards, there are several places within 2-3 miles of the park entrance:

Notes:

Potomac Overlook Regional Park, 2845 N Marcey Rd Arlington, VA 22207

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  • robert f.

    good hike

    March 5, 2013

  • karen

    Thank you John. Very enjoyable and as always, a great group of people!

    March 4, 2013

  • Mike

    Enjoyed the hike. Thanks!

    March 3, 2013

  • John M

    Awesome bunch, great hike! Thanks!

    March 3, 2013

  • robert f.

    thanks for leading a fun hike

    March 3, 2013

  • Mark O.

    Another fantastic hike, thanks again John!

    March 3, 2013

  • Laurel B.

    Still have big smiles and great feelings from this hike thank you everyone what a great way to spend the morning!

    March 3, 2013

  • Jim

    Thanks for leading another great hike, John! It was nippy at the start but a few hills and a little sunshine made it a pleasant late winter Sunday.

    March 3, 2013

  • Scott

    Very fun hike!

    March 3, 2013

  • Melody (.

    Had fun meeting everyone

    March 3, 2013

  • Colin

    I really enjoyed this and lunch afterwards. Thanks for organizing this!!!

    March 3, 2013

  • Barn

    Thank-you. For many years I have seen this trail from the river side and could only guess where the trail came in from. Great walk.

    March 3, 2013

  • Edna J.

    I'm running late and think I will miss this one. See you next time.

    March 3, 2013

  • kathy

    too cold

    March 3, 2013

  • Sara D.

    Bring my furry friend, this will be our first hike with the group!

    March 3, 2013

  • LaRae

    Sorry guys, This would have been my first hike with you, but I wanted to go to the first one with someone I knew, but she bowed out. I hope to attend some in the near future though! Hope today is fun!

    March 3, 2013

  • Kerrie C.

    hey guys - think I'm going to pass. looks like it may be a bit colder/windy than I prefer... enjoy!

    March 3, 2013

  • Brenda C.

    I have a cold cannot go

    March 3, 2013

  • Lisa

    Cant wait!

    March 2, 2013

  • Mandy W

    John, thanks for the info, Much as I'd like to do it, sounds like it's probably not the best choice for a first outing getting the hang of hiking poles. Also, the weather report I just heard says winds may be gusting to 25. I think I'll give this a pass, and look forward to trying another hike some time soon. Thanks for posting the prehike pics. That'll allow me to vicariously tag along. Hope you all have a great time!! (P.S. I couldn't figure out to post this as a reply to your previous message. When I entered it in the reply box and clicked on only POST button I could see, nothing happened.)

    1 · March 2, 2013

    • John M

      OK. (I should have posted a spoliler alert.) The Cherry Blossom Festival is just around the corner, so hope to see you again soon!

      March 2, 2013

  • Edna J.

    I look forward to enjoying the late winter/very early spring outdoors.

    March 2, 2013

  • Mandy W

    Hey, John, sounds like a fun ramble (like all the hikes you lead). Are you still planning to stop by King St Metro? If so, could I get a a ride from there? (Stop at Rocklands afterwards sounds good.)

    This would be my first off-pavement hike since I broke my elbow on the group's Mason Neck Park hike last July, and I'd like to get a little more feedback on the terrain. After breaking my elbow, I thought prudence dictated that perhaps I should stick to pavement hikes and races (just did my first 10K a few weeks ago). However, the surgeon who repaired my elbow (an avid hiker himself) suggested that if I used hiking poles, I could continue to enjoy tramping through the woods. I'm eager to try out the new poles I just got from REI, and would love to do this hike if the terrain is reasonable. What do you think after your pre-hike scouting?

    March 2, 2013

    • John M

      Well, this isn't the Billy Goat Trail, but it's not just a stroll through the woods, either: the rail is narrow and very rocky in places, with several stream crossings. The mouth of Windy Run is "interesting,"­ and although the trail isn't blocked, there are warning signs posted advising visitors to avoid using it. It's about halfway though the hike, so it's easy to retrace your steps back to the trailhead if you decide not to proceed. Here are 12 photos from the prehike: http://tinyurl.com/am...­

      March 2, 2013

  • John M

    Hey folks,

    Looks like a fine day for a hike tomorrow; partly sunny and 43 degrees. If the parking lot fills up there is plenty of parallel street parking along Marcey Rd and Beechwood Place. Don’t park in the Donaldson Run Recreation Assn lot!

    I am stopping by King Street Metro (east side) at 09:45 on my way and have room for two hikers, so leave a reply here or send me an email if you need a ride. Sorry, no dogs please, and I do plan to stop at Rocklands for BBQ after the hike. If you have questions or just care to chat, my cell number is 7O3-924-O845. See you there!

    March 2, 2013

  • John M

    Hi folks, I've updated this from today's prehike. Because it's kinda rocky, the route is shortened a bit and flipped from counterclockwise to clockwise. Please note the new caution statement about trail hazard signs at Windy Run. Looks like fun! (Rocklands is some dam fine BBQ for eats after, BTW.)

    February 26, 2013

  • Ellen

    Would love to partake, but healing from a broken rib from my trip and tumble from the Jones Point Park walk 2 weeks ago. Who would have known?

    February 26, 2013

    • John M

      Wow! Sorry to hear that -- hope your recovery is quick!

      February 26, 2013

    • Ellen

      Thanks John and doing well...Apparently, I need to invest in a walking/hiking stick! :)

      February 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward to another hike on a different day, enjoy!

    February 26, 2013

  • Jim

    Not possible to resist a hike that begins so close to a Total Wine outlet

    2 · February 25, 2013

  • John M

    I'm prehiking this tomorrow, so some minor adjustments may follow.

    February 25, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Is the time going to be one of them? 10:30 PM?

      1 · February 25, 2013

    • John M

      Haha! Good catch - let's go in the AM. As for the prehike, I'm just checking for mud puddles.

      February 25, 2013

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