Lake Anne Trail: An Easy Lakeside Loop in Reston Virginia

Updated on May 9, 2023 by Julie McCool

Enjoy an easy lakeside walk on the Lake Anne Trail through interesting and pretty neighborhoods in Reston Virginia. The Lake Anne Village Center is Reston's original neighborhood, and this trail is a great way to see the historic architecture up close.

The Lake Anne Trail detailed below is 2.3 miles long. The trail follows paved paths and sidewalks through neighborhoods and beside the lake. Our route includes a 1.7-mile loop around the lake plus a short side loop past some interesting artwork and homes.

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This is a suburban trail and you'll always be near homes and roads. However, you'll also enjoy nice views of the lake and some quirky and fun surprises along the way. If you have art lovers in your group, the Lake Anne Trail should definitely be on your to do list.

Lake Anne Trail Details

Begin your walk at the Lake Anne Plaza, near the intersection of Baron Cameron Ave and Village Road in Reston. There are lots of great restaurants and interesting art to see at the plaza, so allow time to explore after your walk.

Plan your visit: 15 Fantastic Things to Do at Lake Anne Reston

Lake Anne Trail Map

Here is a map of our route for the Lake Anne Trail in Reston Virginia. Use this map link to follow along with the AllTrails app.

Map of the Lake Anne Trail in Reston Virginia created with the AllTrails app
Lake Anne Trail map

When you reach the statue of Robert E. Simon (Reston's founder), follow the walkway on the right side to circle the lake in a counter-clockwise loop. You'll pass the Lake Anne Brew House, Reston Art Gallery, and other local businesses. If you have kids along, they will probably want to stop and play at the Sun Boat sculpture.

Lake Anne Plaza walkway
Lake Anne Plaza walkway

At the end of the dock, continue to the right. The lakefront townhouses across the water are part of the Waterview Cluster. The residences here were designed to resemble a European fishing village, with pastel hues and decks that hang over the water.

Waterview Cluster homes at Lake Anne Reston
Waterview Cluster homes

Soon you will reach the Van Gogh Bridge, one of our favorite places to see cherry blossoms in Virginia when they bloom in late March. The design of this pretty bridge was inspired by Van Gogh's painting of the Bridge at Arles. The bridge is a nice spot for a photo and a view of the lake.

Van Gogh Bridge cherry trees in bloom at Lake Anne in Reston Virginia
Van Gogh Bridge cherry trees

Lake Anne Hickory Cluster Loop

After you cross the bridge, turn right to walk a short loop through the Hickory Cluster neighborhood. (To skip this mini-loop, scroll down to Lake Anne Trail below.) Follow the paved path through the North Shore Drive Underpass.

At the underpass, you'll see more of the interesting built-in sculptures created by artist Gonzalo Fonseca. Notice the small boat on the wall that echoes the Sun Boat sculpture you walked by earlier. You can also stop and enjoy a view of the lake from The Swing.

The North Shore Underpass at Lake Anne in Reston is decorated with concrete sculptures
Lake Anne Underpass

Turn right after the underpass and follow the path across the bridge, passing a small stream and playground. Continue left to loop back around to the lake. A sign on your right shares photos and more information about the design of Hickory Cluster.

Hickory Cluster sign and homes, Lake Anne Reston
Hickory Cluster Lake Anne

When the Hickory Cluster neighborhood of townhouses was designed in the 1960s it was a break from Virginia norms. Instead of big private yards, the design favored shared open space and townhomes featuring walls of glass. Today, the cluster offers residents interesting mid-century modern design and a great walkable location.

Now head back under the road and retrace your steps to the Van Gogh Bridge.

Lake Anne Loop Trail: Van Gogh Bridge to Weihle Dam

This section of the Lake Anne Trail follows the southern side of the lake for .8 miles, from the Van Gogh Bridge to the dam at Weihle Road. The trail follows a mix of paved paths (including part of the Blue Trail) and sidewalks. Note that lakefront parks and docks are private, so enjoy the views from the path.

At the bridge, turn right and walk uphill, turning left on the first sidewalk. Since you're circling the lake counter-clockwise, you'll turn left at every intersection or pathway (except one, noted below).

Now you are walking behind the Waterview Cluster houses we admired earlier. Since lakefront residences face the water, the trail view is dominated by backyards and low-slung garages. Still, pretty trees and gardens add pops of color with glimpses of the lake peeking through.

Bright gardens and bushes line the path behind the Waterview Cluster homes
Behind Waterview Cluster homes

Soon you'll pass one of our favorite gems on the Lake Anne Trail—the Little Free Art Library. This adorable take on free book libraries features a tiny art gallery hung with miniature works by local artists. Folks are welcome to take one of the art pieces or add their own. But as the sign says, leave the little plastic people alone, they have families to go home to.

Free Little Art Gallery on the Lake Anne Trail in Reston
Free Little Art Gallery Lake Anne

Next, the Lake Anne Trail passes a small park and a nice view of the lake. Remember, the parks and docks around Lake Anne are private and only open to residents.

Lake Anne Resident park and view of Lake Anne
Lake Anne Resident park

Bear left when you reach a small playground, heading into the Lakeside Cluster. The pretty pathway is lined with plants and attractive lights.

Lake Anne Trail path lined with gardens in Reston VA
Lake Anne Trail path

Watch on your left for one of the most interesting sites on the Lake Anne Trail. At his lakefront home on Orchard Lane, resident Ket Vongsavat has created an elaborate rock garden bordering the path. Take time to stop and enjoy the beautifully placed and painted rocks, which reflect Ket's travels. We see something new every time we pass this lovely garden.

Beautiful and intricate rock garden by the Lake Anne Trail in Reston VA
Lake Anne rock garden
Closeup of rock garden at Lake Anne
Rock garden closeup

Next, turn left onto Greenbriar Court, staying on the sidewalk. (The Blue Trail continues straight but our route stays closer to the lake). A short connecting path leads to South Shore Drive. Here, you can follow the sidewalk past single-family homes that face the lake.

At the end of the cul-de-sac, rejoin the path down to the lake. You have reached the dam that marks the eastern side of Lake Anne. There are benches where you can stop and enjoy views of the lake.

Lake Anne Trail: Weihle Dam to Lake Anne Plaza

The return segment of the Lake Anne Trail follows sidewalks and paths on the north side of the lake for .7 miles. This section is less scenic because denser housing mostly blocks the lake from view. Still, gardens and quiet streets create a nice atmosphere as you pass through the Inlet, Moorings, and Washington Plaza Clusters.

At the end of the dam, you'll walk past a boat launch area for Reston residents. Turn left on the Inlet Court sidewalk, passing large lakefront homes. At the end of the cul-de-sac, you'll pass a Capital Bikeshare stand and rejoin the Blue Trail path.

Bear left when the path forks. You'll have a nice view of the lake at the inlet where residents store and launch kayaks and canoes.

Lake Anne inlet view
Lake Anne inlet view

Stay left and follow Waters Edge Lane through the Moorings Cluster. There are some pretty gardens and a Little Free Library to see as you walk past the Moorings townhouses. Bear left as you pass a small tot lot with swings and continue through another section of the neighborhood.

Garden on Waters Edge Lane Reston
Waters Edge Lane Garden

At the end of the road, follow the path then turn left. The lake is now straight ahead of you but the path leads to private homes. Watch for the short paved path curving to your right and follow it to Chimney House Road. Here you re-enter the Washington Cluster, Reston's first neighborhood cluster.

Stay on the Chimney Road sidewalk until you reach the stairway that leads back to the Lake Anne Plaza. As you walk down the stairs, check out the display of sculptural icons on your right. The giant comb, toothbrush, bandaid and other items once decorated a pharmacy that was part of the original Lake Anne stores.

Stairway to Lake Anne Plaza
Stairway to Lake Anne Plaza

You have now completed the Lake Anne Trail walk. Take time to have a meal, do some shopping, or just relax at Lake Anne Plaza. Our guide to 15 Fantastic Things to Do at Lake Anne Reston has details on the great local businesses you'll find here.

Tips for Your Lake Anne Trail Walk

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your walk on the Lake Anne Trail.

  • The entire walk around Lake Anne is paved and uses a mix of sidewalks and pathways.
  • The Lake Anne Trail is stroller-friendly, though you'll need to navigate a few short hills.
  • Leashed dogs are welcome and this is a popular trail for dog-walkers.
  • As noted above, docks and open space by the lake are for residents only, except for the public areas in and near the Lake Anne Plaza.
  • There is free parking next to the plaza.
  • Lake Anne hosts one of the best Farmer's Markets in Northern Virginia on Saturday mornings. It's a great time to visit the lake, but you'll have to park on North Shore Road or across the street on Browns Chapel Road.
  • There are restroom facilities in the Reston Community Center.

The Lake Anne Trail is a fun and easy walk, perfect for a little exercise and a visit to one of Northern Virginia's most unique neighborhoods. Happy walking!

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Lake Anne Trail through interesting and pretty neighborhoods in Reston Virginia.
Lake Anne Trail Reston Virginia pin