Stroller-friendly trail over the dam at Burke Lake Park VA

Stroller Friendly Trails in Northern Virginia

Our round-up of stroller friendly trails in Northern Virginia highlights paths that are easy to navigate and provide interesting diversions whether you’re inside or behind the stroller. Most of the paths are paved but we’ve also included dirt trails that are navigable with a sturdy stroller.

Paved Stroller Friendly Trails in Northern Virginia

Meadowlark Gardens, Vienna

Toddlers practice walking at Meadowlark Gardens Virginia

Meadowlark is great for toddlers

 

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens offers 95 acres of stunning beauty, exploration, and learning. Most of the stroller friendly trails are paved, and many are hilly so you can get a good workout as you walk. Head down the hill to visit the pond full of koi, rest in the gazebo, and cross pretty bridges to a nearby children’s garden. Visit in December to enjoy the garden lit with thousands of colorful lights and displays. Admission is $2.50 – $5.00.

Glade Stream Valley Trail, Reston

Glade Stream Valley Reston

Glade Stream Valley, Reston

 

The Glade Stream Valley Trail in Reston is a paved path along a nice section of stream that has been improved to reduce flooding and erosion. We recommend the section between Twin Branches Road and Soapstone Drive, which is mostly shady with nice stream views. The eastern end of the trail near Twin Branches is quite hilly, but it levels out once you cross the stream.

Once you reach Soapstone Drive, you can either turn back the way you came, or continue across the road, turning right on the next paved path and returning on the Glade Road sidewalk (follow the link for map and more hike details). The advantage of the longer loop is a stop at the Walker Nature Center, which has fun displays and clean bathrooms.

Great Marsh Trail, Lorton

Great Marsh platform at Mason Neck

Great Marsh platform at Mason Neck

 

The Great Marsh Trail is a 3/4 mile paved, ADA-compliant path that is part of the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck Wildlife Refugre, near beautiful Mason Neck State Park. To reach the trail, head south on Gunston Road past the turn for the state park, watching for the Great Marsh Trail parking lot on your right. The level, paved path passes through shady woods, and ends at a platform overlooking Great Marsh. This is a beautiful spot to watch for birds, including the many bald eagles that nest in the protected marsh. If time allows, we highly recommend a stop at the Mason Neck State Park Visitor Center.

Washington & Old Dominion Rail Trail, Vienna

Washington and Old Dominion bike trail near Reston

Washington & Old Dominion bike trail near Reston

 

The longest, skinniest park in Virginia is the 40-mile Washington and Old Dominion Regional Park, aka the W&OD bike trail. There are many nice segments along the paved trail, but we like the stretch between the Vienna train depot and Hunter Mill Road. This 3 mile, mostly level segment passes over Difficult Run and past the Meadowlark Connector Trail, and does not include any road crossings once you leave downtown Vienna. Use caution and be aware of bikes, which often approach at high speeds.

Green Spring Gardens, Alexandria

Stroller friendly trails and pond at Green Spring Gardens

Pond at Green Spring Gardens

 

Green Spring Gardens is a 31 acre garden park with a small network of paved paths. Walk the loop around the main gardens and head down a small hill to visit the pond. The demonstration area includes a children’s garden and the Horticulture Center has a shop and clean restrooms. Admission and parking are free.

Unpaved Stroller Friendly Trails in Northern Virginia

Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria

Nature visit Huntley Meadows

Nature visit Huntley Meadows

 

Huntley Meadows Park is an absolute gem in the Fairfax County Park system. ADA-compliant, stroller friendly trails pass through the woods to a long boardwalk over the beautiful marsh. On one visit, beavers had built a lodge over part of the boardwalk, and there are always birds, fish, and amphibians to see. The Visitor Center includes fun displays and convenient restrooms, and the park is free.

Burke Lake Park, Fairfax Station

Trail over dam Burke Lake

Trail over dam Burke Lake

A 5 mile dirt and stone dust fitness trail circles Burke Lake, but there is a paved section between the marina and dam that is easier to navigate with a stroller. If you visit during the summer, don’t miss a ride on the miniature Central Pacific Huntington steam engine. Kids can also enjoy a carousel, ice cream parlor, and mini-golf in season. Admission is free for Fairfax County residents and for everyone on weekdays. On weekends, there is a $10 per car entry fee for out-of-county visitors.

Theodore Roosevelt Island, Arlington

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial

 

A Theodore Roosevelt Island hike offers an unexpected slice of nature at the edge of DC, with a network of dirt paths, a long boardwalk over a tidal marsh, and a large plaza honoring Theodore Roosevelt.. When the Potomac is at flood stage the island can become impassable, but otherwise the paths are mostly level dirt and stone dust. At the top of the island, the large plaza offers space to run around or have a picnic while admiring the quotes and statue of Teddy.

Lake Accotink Park, Springfield

Trail from marina Lake Accotink

Trail from marina Lake Accotink

 

While a 4-mile loop trail circles the lake and part of the Accotink stream valley, the eastern side of the lake offers the most stroller friendly trail.  The trail here is part of the Fairfax Cross County Trail (CCT) and hugs closer to the shore with some nice viewpoints. The trail near the marina is shady with a stone dust and dirt surface, and is hilly in places. At the northern end the path is paved and flatter. Other family-friendly activities at the park include paddleboat rentals, a lake tour boat, mini-golf, picnic areas, and an antique carousel. Admission and parking are free.

Have you hiked these Northern Virginia stroller friendly trails? What’s your favorite spot for a family hike with wheels?

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These stroller friendly trails in Northern Virginia are easy to navigate and provide interesting diversions whether you're inside or behind the stroller.

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6 Responses to “Stroller Friendly Trails in Northern Virginia”

  1. Kari @The He Said She Said Experience August 12, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    We love Burke Lake Park, but haven’t done the stroller trail. Thanks!

    • Fun in Fairfax VA August 13, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

      The trail around Burke Lake is ok for an “off road” stroller, but the paved section is best for most strollers. That part is also ADA compliant and includes several accessible fishing piers. Hope you get a chance to check it out. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. emma August 12, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    I grew up in Herndon and went to Reston a lot but never heard of Glade Stream Valley! That sounds like a good one to visit next time I’m up that way 🙂

    • Fun in Fairfax VA August 13, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

      Hi Emma! The Glade SVT is much nicer since they improved the stream area. Still close to houses but a nice little path with plenty of shade. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Cecilia Travis February 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    Helpful website. Thanks. I am referencing it for my accessiblenature.info site for disabled hikers.

    • Fun in Fairfax VA February 13, 2017 at 8:19 am #

      We’re happy to hear that this is useful for your site, Cecilia. It’s difficult to find ADA compliant trails, but most of these either meet the standard or portions of them do. The Burke Lake trail also has accessible fishing sites in the paved section.

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