Custis Trail

Virginia

Custis Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: Arlington
Length: 4 miles
Trail end points: W&OD Railroad Regional Park trail (4 mile mark) and Rosslyn (Lee Hwy & Lynn Street)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6032480
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Register for Free with TrailLink Today!

View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
Share your trail photos
Save Your Favorite Trails
Find New Trails Near You
Leave reviews for trails
Submit new trails to our site
Register Now

Custis Trail Description

The Custis Trail is a popular urban route that links Virginia's D.C. suburbs with the District itself, connecting to both the W&OD Railroad Regional Park Trail at the latter's 4-mile marker and the Mount Vernon Trail at Roosevelt Island.

The trail can be difficult for the aerobically challenged—its hills are quite a workout and more so if you are traveling east to west. The Custis Trail parallels I-66 but concrete barriers keep the traffic noise down. In places the trail is narrow and has a few blind curves, so cyclists should take them slowly to avoid colliding with the many runners and walkers you'll encounter.

The trail begins in Rosslyn at the intersection of Lee Highway and Lynn Street and follows a wide sidewalk up the hill as it heads west. Beyond the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel, the trail turns to asphalt and becomes more narrow; the uphill climb is a grunt. The trail then crosses over I-66 and follows it to where the Custis hooks up with the W&OD Trail. From this area you can also cross the W&OD to the Four Mile Run Trail. Linking all these trails together provides more than 70 miles of non-motorized corridor.

Parking and Trail Access

Public (paid) parking is available in Rosslyn and free parking is available at Roosevelt Island parking lot off George Washington Parkway (access only heading N/W bound). You can also park at Bon Air Memorial Park in Arlington.

Custis Trail Reviews

The challenge is to climb the slight hills on a bike. The course is shorter than most but long enough to get necessary exercise. The views are nice and approachable. All in all this trail is a good addition for hikers and bikers.

We rode it from Alexandria (Big Wheel Bikes) to W&OD on a tandem (first time!). The hills are mostly to navigate up and down the overpasses to the adjacent highway. I guess relative to a true rail trail, it's hilly, but not as bad as I'd expected. It does have plenty of twists and turns, so you need to be especially cautious passing, especially the earbudded pedestrians. It got us to W&OD and back without any roads, which was what we needed.

I rode it yesterday West to East, and today East to West, as I made my way on the 10 mile journey from Georgetown to Don Beyer Volvo in Falls Church.

As others say, especially East to West, the hills are a bear because you're climbing up from Rosslyn, I guess more or less in the direction of Great Falls. Anyway, you're going up river, and the elevation increases.

Anyway, I'm grouchy about it not because the Custis goes uphill going West, which is natural, BUT I RESENT that it must needs play leap-frog with Rt. 66, as the trail either goes above exits on flyovers, or below certain exits, or indeed even having to climb up a steep curlicue ramp to reach the pedestrian bridge that crosses from the North to the South side of Rt. 66 (going West, that is). Eventually the Custis ends at the W & OD Trail, which is a great success of course, and goes all the way out to Purcellville, Va.

But when I need to go West out to Falls Church again, I will try to find the Eastern terminus of the Bluemont Junction Trail, which then connects up with the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail, in other words, a route that follows a more RATIONAL, flatter, train route. Harumph to cars, and the bike trails that must bow to them. "Roads Were Not Built For Cars!"

Accordion

The Custis Trail is a very well maintained asphalt trail. On our ride of Saturday 10/6/12, it was not crowded at all. Parts of the trail ware through nice wooded areas, while other parts were side roads to major roadways. The trail is HILLY!!! Lots of ups and downs and not for the faint of heart.

I like to include the custis trail as part of what I call the "bicycle beltway". I start at the Eisenhower connecter beltway exit at the clermont access bicycle ramp. Next its on to the cameron run trail toward ramsey nature trail. from there its thru the neighborhood of seminary hills and onto walter reed dr. and the four mile run trail. next its the W & OD trail and right onto the custis trail. Then south on the Mt. vernon trail and finally west thru old towne to the cameron run trail and back to clemont. total miles: 28. perfect after work night ride or weekend afternoon ride!

























The section of this trail from Theodore Roosevelt Island / Rosslyn to about Glebe Road is almost all up hill. The first mile or two from Rosslyn to Veitch Street is a just wide sidewalk. The total vertical rise from Rosslyn to Glebe Road is about 300 feet. This section is a good workout for those who like hills. To the west of Veitch Street, It runs along side Interstate 66 but is separated from it. There are some nice woods along this portion but it is always noisy because of the interstate.

This trail was originally a rail trail which followed a spur of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad (W & OD) from East Falls Church near the intersection of Lee Highway and Washington Boulevard. I rode the portion from Rosslyn to North Kirkwood Road in the early 70's. Later Interstate 66 was built along the old railroad right of way. The current trail runs along side the Interstate.

A friend and I just rode the loop that mdcrtse described in his June 18, 2009 review but started about a half mile south of the intersection and Mount Vernon trail and the Four Mile Run Trail. We parked at Dangerfield Marina, took the Mount Vernon trail north to the beginning of the Custis trail near Theodore Roosevelt Island. Then we followed the Custis trail to the W&OD trail. After that we took the W&OD trail to its end in Shirlington. Finally we shifted over to the Four Mile Run Trail and followed it back to the Mount Vernon Trail.

This route puts almost all of the uphill in the first half of the trip, followed by a gentle down hill return to the start. If you like hills, pick up the Four mile run trail as soon as you encounter it. Although it runs parallel to the Four mile run trail, it has many small and medium size hills and one large one.

This trail is a nice trail for those who like going up and down hills. If you start at the Theodore Roosevelt park (on the Potomac river) you climb up a very long hill on a side walk marked with an orange stripe designating the trail. After you get past the first long (and steep hill) you go down and up quite a bit as the trail follows route 66 and climbs from road level up to overpass bridges and roads. Unfortunately you will not be rolling down hill coming back as the trail goes up and down in both directions. Although it will be a long down hill going west to east when you get near the Potomac.

I recommend this trail as the beginning of a 18 mile loop. Beginning at the Roosevelt Island parking lot climb up past the Marriott and follow the trail to the W&OD trail. Take the W&OD trail south past Bluemont park. Note if you don't see the Bluemont park after a riding on the W&OD trail for a mile then you are going the wrong direction. After riding 4 miles the W&OD trail ends. Follow the signs across the street and to the right to pick up the 4 mile run connector and follow it down to the Potomac where it connects with the Mt. Vernon trail. It is a little tricky here because you actually pass under the Mt. Vernon trail before curving around to connect with it. Turn right and ride past the Reagan national airport. Continue along the Mt. Vernon trail as it follows the Potomac river back to the Roosevelt Island park. All in all the loop is 18 miles with the most strenuous riding occuring along the Custis trail (especially the beginning section riding up the hill past the Marriott Hotel.)

I've been walking/running/riding my bike on this trail for over 7 years now. I used to live very close by so I would take my bike or just walk to the trail from my parents house. Normally I begin on the trail from the area behind the Chevy Chase Bank (on Lee Hwy & Spout Run) in the shopping center area and walk towards Falls Church. If I'm on the trail on the weekends I take it to DC (right side). Its an awesome trail.

My sister and her family (two girls aged 9, and her son aged 11) went to DC from her home in Fairfax, VA. Every one of them had a bike. She said that other people riding their bikes kept getting too close to them when they'd pass. At one point she said my neice was being approached from behind by a cyclist who told her she was approaching her left side.. so she tried going to her right.. then he yelled 'oh sorry RIGHT RIGHT'.. obviously my neice got confused and ended up falling off her bike. The other cyclist just kept on going! Didnt even look back! So, the purpose of this story is BE CAREFUL OF CYCLISTS!! Even when I am on the trail walking or jogging I notice some cyclists get too close to me.. even when there is NO ONE else close to us!

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Events nearby

organizer logo
WB&A Trail
Glenn Dale, MD

iCare will be hosting its 4th Annual 5K run/walk in support of it's "Feed the 5000" campaign to provide meals and groceries to homeless citizens,...

#5k #race #run #walk
Sat Apr 21 2018

Nearby Trails

Mount Vernon Trail

Virginia - 18 miles

The 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail is one of the Washington, D.C. Metro area's most popular trails. Just across the Potomac River from D.C. in Virginia,...

Capital Crescent Trail

District of Columbia - 11 miles

Detour notice: As of Sept. 5, 2017, a 3.5-mile section between Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda and Talbot Avenue in Silver Spring at the northeastern tip...

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

District of Columbia - 184.5 miles

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (a.k.a. C&O Canal Towpath) follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles between...

Accordion

Rock Creek Park Trails

District of Columbia - 8.5 miles

Located in the northwest section of Washington, D.C., Rock Creek Park is the oldest and largest urban park in the national park system. Established in...

Klingle Valley Trail

District of Columbia - 0.7 miles

The Klingle Valley Trail spans just shy of a mile in a leafy, residential area of northwest Washington, DC. The trail opened in June 2017 and is...

Bluemont Junction Trail

Virginia - 1.3 miles

The Bluemont Junction Trail is a short paved trail that branches off from the popular Washington and Old Dominion Trail (W&OD) in the heart of...

Anacostia Riverwalk Trail

District of Columbia - 15 miles

The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is an important component of the transportation network in the nation's capital and a priority project under President...

MacArthur Boulevard Bike Path

Maryland - 8 miles

The MacArthur Boulevard Bike Path follows the winding road through the communities of Bethesda and Potomac, just north of Washington, DC. Along the...

Metropolitan Branch Trail

District of Columbia - 8 miles

Following the route of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Metropolitan Branch rail line, the Met Branch Trail is a busy urban rail-with-trail that...

Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (W&OD)

Virginia - 45 miles

The Washington & Old Dominion Trail (W&OD) is one of suburban Washington, D.C.'s most popular rail-trails. The heavily used trail is frequented by...

Four Mile Run Trail

Virginia - 6.2 miles

The Four Mile Run Trail traverses the Four Mile Run stream valley and has many twists and turns, not to mention steep sections (mercifully short). The...

Potomac Yard Trail

Virginia - 2 miles

Providing an important urban link between the Crystal City area of Arlington and the western edge of historical Alexandria, the Potomac Yard Trail is...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Support Trails and Pick Your FREE Guidebook + Trail Kit Today!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews
OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!
OR