Updated on January 14, 2024 by Julie McCool
Our round-up of wheelchair-accessible and stroller-friendly trails in Northern Virginia highlights paths that are easy to navigate and fun to visit. Most of the paths are paved but we've also included dirt trails that are okay for a sturdy stroller or rugged wheelchair. In some cases, only a portion of the trail is wheelchair accessible.
Paved Wheelchair and Stroller-Friendly Trails in Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia offers stroller-friendly trails on paved surfaces throughout the region. Some of these trails include hilly sections so you can add an extra workout if you choose. Follow the links for additional photos and information to help you plan your outing.
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Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna
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. A wheelchair-accessible path winds down the hill to a pond full of koi. Kids love to spot fish and giant turtles from the gazebo then cross pretty bridges to visit the nearby children’s garden.
Meadowlark is one of our favorite places to see cherry blossoms in April. Visit in December for the Winter Walk of Lights and enjoy the garden lit with thousands of colorful lights and displays. Admission is $3.00 – $6.00 and the park opens daily at 10:00 (closing hours vary).
Glade Stream Valley Trail, 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 Road is quite hilly, but it levels out once you cross the stream. To avoid the hills, park and enter the trail from Soapstone Road and turn around when the path crosses the stream.
To make a loop hike, cross the road at Soapstone, turn right on the next paved path, and return on the Glade Road sidewalk (follow the link for map and more hike details). You can extend your walk with a stop at the Walker Nature Center, which has fun displays and clean bathrooms.
Great Marsh Trail, Lorton
The Great Marsh Trail is a 3/4 mile paved, ADA-compliant path that is part of the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge. The trail is close to, but outside, 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 path passes through shady woods and ends at a platform overlooking Great Marsh. This is a lovely spot to watch for birds, including bald eagles that nest in the protected marsh.
Plan a day trip with our guide. Hiking and Eagles on the Mason Neck Peninsula in Northern Virginia.
Sugarland Run Stream Valley Trail, Reston / Herndon
The 4-mile Sugarland Run Stream Valley Trail is paved throughout. However, there are several fair weather stream crossings that use concrete columns to cross above the water. While we have seen people navigate these crossings while pushing a stroller through the water, it isn't easy.
Fortunately, there are wheelchair-accessible and stroller-friendly sections of the trail that use bridges to cross the stream. The southernmost section of the trail runs from Elden Street to the W&OD Bike Trail in Herndon. This section has 3 bridge crossings and is mostly level. Approximately 1 mile of the Sugarland Run South Trail, between Elden Street and the first stream crossing, is accessible. This section includes a bridge crossing and a short boardwalk.
Washington & Old Dominion Rail Trail, Vienna
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 segment passes over Difficult Run and past the Meadowlark Connector Trail.
This part of the trail is mostly level and it does not include any road crossings once you leave downtown Vienna. There is a small parking lot at the corner of Hunter Mill and Hunter Station Roads, and a larger lot at the Vienna train station. Use caution and be aware of bikes, which often approach at high speeds.
Extend your visit with our guide 8 Great Things to Do in Vienna Virginia: Advice from a Local
Cool Spring Battlefield Trail, Bluemont
This stroller-friendly trail is Just an hour west of DC, in the beautiful town of Bluemont. Cool Spring Battlefield was once a golf course, and the paved trails were golf cart paths. The course has been transformed into a haven for native Virginia plants and birds. Two loop trails wind through meadows at the edge of the Shenandoah River.
Most of the paths at Cool Spring are stroller-friendly but be prepared for dips and short climbs. In addition, there is an extremely steep side trail at one end of the park that is not stroller-accessible. Unfortunately, most of the trail is not ADA-compliant as the hills, while short, are too steep.
Green Spring Gardens, Alexandria
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 Wheelchair and Stroller-Friendly Trails in Northern VA
Hard-packed dirt and stone surfaces are perfect for sturdy strollers. Two of these paths are wheelchair accessible for all or a portion of the trail.
Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria
Huntley Meadows Park is one of the hidden gems of the Fairfax County Park system. Wheelchair accessible and stroller-friendly dirt trails pass through the woods to a long boardwalk over a 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 interesting displays and convenient restrooms, and the park is free.
Explore more of the Hidden Gems in Northern Virginia.
Neabsco Creek Boardwalk, Woodbridge
The newest addition to wheelchair and stroller-friendly trails in Northern Virginia is a real beauty. Neabsco Creek Boardwalk is a fully accessible, three-quarter-mile trail over a wetland in Prince William County. A level, paved path leads to the boardwalk from Rippon Landing Park. Enjoy lovely views and birdwatching from this new trail which is also popular with dog-walkers and other folks out for a relaxing stroll.
Find more great boardwalks in our guide 6 Beautiful Boardwalk Hikes in Northern Virginia.
Burke Lake Park, Fairfax Station
A 5-mile dirt and stone dust fitness trail circles Burke Lake and it is appropriate for sturdy strollers except when the ground is muddy. There is a paved section between the marina and dam that is easier to navigate with a stroller. There are also accessible fishing bulkheads and a fishing pier, connected by a paved path.
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.
Frying Pan Park, Herndon
Mostly level and wide, the dirt and gravel trails make it easy to visit the farm animals and interesting displays at Frying Pan Farm Park. This is one of the best Northern Virginia parks for kids and families.
Park in the large lot and follow the path to the barn to visit the farm's sheep, horses, pigs, cows, and more. There is a wide, flat path between the animal pastures and picnic areas near the parking lot and behind the equestrian barn. There is also a nature trail through the woods but the ground is uneven and can be muddy.
Both admission and parking at Frying Pan Farm Park are free, but consider leaving a donation to help care for the farm animals.
Theodore Roosevelt Island, Arlington
The trails on Theodore Roosevelt Island include a network of dirt paths, a long boardwalk over a tidal marsh, and a large plaza honoring Theodore Roosevelt. The paths are mostly level dirt and stone dust so they are a good option for sturdy strollers, except when muddy. At the top of the island, a large plaza offers space to run around or have a picnic while admiring the quotes and statue of Teddy.
Unfortunately, the island trails are not ADA compliant because of excessive grades on the footpath that leads to the island and several of the dirt paths. A rugged motorized wheelchair may be able to navigate the footbridge and the dirt path that leads to the boardwalk.
For a fairly level walk, cross the footbridge to the island and turn right to walk to the Swamp Trail boardwalk. This route is mostly level but the ground is uneven.
Lake Accotink Park, Springfield
A 4-mile dirt path circles Accotink Lake, but the eastern side of the lake offers the most stroller-friendly trail. The trail near the marina is shady with a stone dust and dirt surface but is hilly in places.
At the northern end of the lake, the path is paved and flatter. The trail here is part of the Fairfax Cross County Trail (CCT) and hugs close to the shore with some nice viewpoints. Other family-friendly activities at the park include pedalboat rentals, a lake tour boat, mini-golf, picnic areas, and an antique carousel. Admission and parking are free.