The Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad Regional Park is one of NOVA Parks greatest assets.
It’s been 45 years since the opening of the first section of the trail. Did you know the W&OD Trail was just 1.5 miles long when it opened in 1974? (Pictured below is an actual newspaper advertisement for that first section.)
Even in 1974, NOVA Parks had a vision to create a trail that would run the entire length of the old railroad. Through a succession of acquisitions over the following 10 years, by 1984 NOVA Parks expanded the trail to just about its current size.
The W&OD trail is now 45 miles long and provides a comfortable paved pathway that stretches from Shirlington in the east to Purcellville in the west, accommodating all who wish to run, walk, or cycle the trail’s historic and scenic routes. (The W&OD route is seen on the map below)
Today, the W&OD trail is ranked as one of the top 10 most popular trails in the United States and the most popular trail in Virginia. The W&OD Trail boasts well over 2 million users a year.
It took vision to create the W&OD Trail 45 years ago. This vision continues to today as numerous improvements are planned, including several new bridges to separate trail users from vehicular traffic. Another visionary improvement, starting in 2020, will be the creation of dual parallel trails through urban areas. Just as the first trail in 1974, the first dual trail segment of the trail will be built in the Falls Church area.