These route options represent a small selection of the major off-road trail systems in the metro DC area. Though there are many additional trail and road segments that intersect with these routes, these particular selections offer runners lengthier stretches of land that are for the most part uninterrupted, which allows for more consistent training. These trails are often rugged in parts, so runners should train with caution and should consider using these routes only for slower distance running.
Water, Lighting, and General Safety
Though all of these trails are in close proximity to busy highway systems and city streets, they are still quite isolated, and they do run through densely wooded areas. These trails are popular with recreational walkers, but yet, they can often be quite deserted, particularly in the winter months and during dawn and dusk. Runners should always carry hydration and nutrition with them, because there is not any water available directly on these trails. Moreover, runners should bring personal lighting and any necessary safety devices with them on their workouts. Train responsibly and with good caution. Once again, be aware that these trails are uneven and are quite rugged in certain stretches. Wear supportive footwear, and avoid the trails if they are covered in leaves, snow, or ice.