An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Great Hike Right Down the Street: Four Mile Run

OK, so it's not necessarily a true hike in the strap-on-your-backpack-and-Timberlands sense of the word. But considering you don't have to leave Arlington to get there, walking the Four Mile Run Trail is a beautiful way to spend a spring afternoon. And it has one thing going for it over some bigger-name trails -- you can't stop for a Slushie in Shenandoah National Park.

The Green Girlfriend and I picked up the trail Sunday morning off a side street in Arlington's Barcroft neighborhood. There were plenty of other people on the trail, but it didn't feel crowded. We spent a couple of hours walking the trail as it meandered through parks, behind apartment buildings, past a snow-cone vendor, and across Walter Reed Drive.

A partial list of the wildlife we spotted:

  • A red-tailed hawk
  • Grackles
  • Blue jays
  • A crow being chased by aforementioned grackles & blue jays, who apparently had formed a coalition of the willing to drive the crow away from their nests
  • Robins
  • Cardinals
  • Fish (up to 6 inches long) who apparently have not gotten word Four Mile Run itself is pretty polluted A cat, which may or not have been wild
Unfortunately, we also spotted plenty of invasive plants overpowering native trees. We pledged to bring pruning shears next time we hiked the trail.

Here's a W&OD trail website's review of the Four Mile Run Trail:
Arlington County's Four Mile Run Trail is an asphalt trail parallel to the W&OD from Mile 0.1 to Mile 4.7. Because it is less well-known than the W&OD it gets less through traffic, including bikes. It is ideal for walking. Parallel to the W&OD between Mile Markers 3.5 and 4.5, the Four Mile Run Trail disappears briefly. It takes a while to learn where it goes, but it is worth it. Going west, a good starting point is on Walter Reed Drive at Arlington Mill Road, which is west of the W&OD (Mile 0.5). Eastbound on the W&OD, it branches to the right at Mile 4.8.
Thanks to for the map!

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