Potomac Heritage Trail

EASY 45 reviews

Potomac Heritage Trail is a 19.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Arlington, Virginia that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

19.5 miles
1482 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


3 months ago

Great trail. Just be warned that between Key Bridge and Chain Bridge up river a couple of miles there are some very challenging sections climbing over rocks on an extremely narrow trail. Almost as challenging as the steepest section of Billy Goat Trail. This is just before the waterfall. There is also about half a mile of walking along the GW Parkway, a quarter mile of which is literally on the shoulder. Good views even there. Great views elsewhere. One last warning. Do not fall into the river! People drown every year falling in near this trail.

6 months ago

Very overgrown, especially at the western part of the trail

Monday, February 06, 2017

great trail, plenty of traditional climbing potential about 2 -3 miles in

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My first time using the app and what a great find!! Such a great trail!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Best in the fall

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

trail was beautiful by the river and not too many people. but the noise pollution...all you could hear was cars, boats or airplanes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Trails are sometime narrow, but there is a nice stream that runs along some of the trails- many off shoots and little nooks. Sat around 30th St N and had lunch.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Great hike, close to home! Waterfall at Windy Run was pretty cool!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Surprisingly woodsy and quiet for a trail so close to the city. Love this one!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Parts were beautiful. Terrain is not boring. Lots of intermittent litter.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Great trail. We do this with adults and kids. Particularly like entering at Potomac Overlook park in Arlington and hiking up to the Chain Bridge. Watch out for the tidal fluctuations in the Potomac. We have seen the trail swamped very quickly.

trail running
Monday, November 18, 2013

I had an amazing time on this loop. I'm training for a trail run in a couple months so I thought this might be good practice. I started at Theodore Roosevelt Island, followed the river up to Chain Bridge, crossed the river, and came down the C&O Canal towpath. Aside from a couple places on Potomac Heritage where I didn't pay close enough attention to the blazes, the trail is well-marked and easy to follow. I got off-path a few times at creek crossings. On the bright side, there were enough people out (sporadically) that I never actually got lost. Potomac Heritage can be a bit technical at times--w/ rock scrambling and ducking trees--but I felt that added fun to the trail. I would stress caution on the creek crossings and rock scrambling though; it rained the night before so the rocks were fairly slick. The towpath, on the other hand, was a flat, gravel path; it was a nice change of pace after the previous workout. It's also very easy to get back to Roosevelt Island once you cross over the Key Bridge (cross on the left side of the bridge--so traffic is on your right--and you can follow the sidewalk to the bike path. Roosevelt Island is a quarter mile down the bike path). I really can't wait to run this loop again. I might even take the time to stop for pictures b/c the scenery is fantastic.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It is lovely to experience nature in the city! This hike provides the best of both worlds to city and suburbanite dwellers!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just hiked this trail today. This was my first time hiking this portion of the trail. I started at the Roosevelt Island parking lot and hiked north up to Chain Bridge, crossed the bridge, then took the C & O towpath back to Key Bridge. Total mileage was 8.7 miles and it took about 3 hours at a moderate pace. There were a few spots where trash was a problem but overall, the trail was fairly clean. There were two guys out clearing parts of the trail with a scythe-like implement. For a nearby hike, this was great. You should wear good hiking shoes ( no sandals or slick-bottomed sneakers ) because there is some scrambling over some large boulders and some tricky climbing near the Chain Bridge portion of the trail. The trail is well marked with a greenish blue blaze, at least in the north-bound direction. I wish there were some signs to explain what some of the remnants of buildings and some metal structures were. I'll definitely do the hike again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I thought this trail was awesome! Cant wait to do it again.

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