10-Mile Circuit Hike
Partially on the Difficult Run Trail.
Avoiding Out-And-Back Hikes.
Because the trail system of Fairfax County is incomplete, it lacks many circuit hikes. There are several long trails. To hike these, groups must park cars at both ends so that they can return. The only alternative is to walk, turn-around, and double-back. Hikers call this an "out-and-back" hike.
Most hikers prefer circuit hikes to out-and-back hikes. Here is one ten miles long. This hike takes four hours. It follows three trails. One is the W&OD between Mile Markers 14.5 and 16.5. The second is the Difficult Run Trail, beginning at Colvin Run Mill Park. The third trail is the Colvin Run Trail, also known as the "Rails To River Trail."
The circuit hike follows a rough equilateral triangle. Only one hundred yards of this hike are on roads. Click here for a map. Good places to begin are: Lake Fairfax Park; Hunter Mill Road at the W&OD or historic Colvin Mill, all of which have parking.
This hike has it all:
- a year-round source of water, on the W&OD at Sunset Hills Road in Reston;
- year-round restrooms, on the W&OD at Wiehle Avenue in Reston;
- several other seasonal sources of water; other seasonal restrooms;
- a mecca of fast-food at Wiehle Avenue;
- historic houses at Colvin Run Mill Park and at Hunter Mill Road on the W&OD.
This trail needs:
- Better marking and signage. It is "difficult" to find.
Use the trails wisely. The conditions of the trails may vary from the descriptions found here, due to external forces. This site strives to present accurate information, but it is subject to change. Never trespass on private property or violate any law. Do nothing which would be dangerous. As with any activity outdoors, hiking has risks. You assume responsibility for those risks.