Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail


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Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: King George
Length: 15.7 miles
Trail end points: US 301/James Madison Pkwy (Dahlgren) and Bloomsbury Road/SR 605 nr. Birchwood Crk Rd. (nr. Sealston)
Trail surfaces: Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017621
Trail activities: Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail Description

The Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail (DRHT) is currently a private-use trail only, which means a permit is required to use it. Friends of the DRHT are working to create public access to the trail, which traverses scenic forested landscape abounding with wildlife in Virginia's Northern Neck.

The rail-trail, which was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2018, follows the route of the old Dahlgren Branch Line from the Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center west toward Fredericksburg. Currently, horses are not allowed on the trail but the Friends of the DRHT hope to secure permission one day.

The pathway is also part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, which extends from the Chesapeake Bay to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

For more information, contact Friends of the DRHT.

Parking and Trail Access

For parking and access information, visit the Friends of the DRHT map page, and click on the links to each of the three trail sections.

Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail Reviews

While in the area I was able to ride a quick 6 mile section from the Route 610 access. Very nice rustic trail with beautiful seanery.
Note that at the time of my ride (Early May) there was very high grass in parts of the trail and the ticks were numerous so take precautions.
Will return for sure for a longer ride.


Did the trail Fri July 29 at noon. Rough trail, best for walking. Got 1/2 mile into the woods and there were enough mosquitoes to pick me up and carry me away. Covered myself with OFF, but still bugs so thick it was not pleasant.

Would be great for a nice hike in the early spring.


This trail may one day be an excellent trail but seems to be fairly young and hasn't been improved too much yet. There are many railroad ties that haven't been removed although they only stick up a bit from the surface. The stones used on the trail are fairly large (pea size to pocket-change size mostly) and, in most places, do not create a well-packed surface. I did 20 miles on the trail (out and back) on a 90 degree July day on a hybrid bike. It's do-able with the hybrid but not ideal. I was constantly having to pull cobwebs off me -- the trail seems to be used very little (in fact, I saw no one else the entire ride). If I were to do the trail again, I would probably stick to the western end; the 10 miles on the West end were a bit better than the East end in terms of the surface, and also in that it was a little less tunnel-like (since the East end was completely enclosed by forest).

Mostly flat and wide dirt/rock/sand trail. Did the sheetz side of it after a lot of rain. Very green and had a couple mud spots but nothing challenging. There is a weird part on the east end of the trail that has you cross a road but it's not a busy one. Saw a lot of squirrels, yearling, Eagles, blue jays, lizards and butterflies. Some is near residential areas and crosses near a cemetary but still gorgeous. Recommend bug spray if walking or biking. If running or biking, should be ok without. Ticks! Plan to do the rest of it later this month.

this is a very beautiful trail and worth the effort. the only hiccup that I can see is that a lot of the trail is large river stone and very difficult with hybrid tires. my partner wore out a tire. it made the whole trip but went flat the next day and upon examination has three holes in it. there are two road crossings that can be dangerous because it's paved road and cars come around a blind curve going pretty fast. I give it 4 stars because I think the choice of large river stones was a bad one.

I ran this for a half marathon it was flat, well maintained and beautiful - the best half marathon for your knees!

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