Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail


28 Reviews

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Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: Fairfax
Length: 40 miles
Trail end points: Potomac River at Difficult Run (Great Falls National Park) and Occoquan Regional Park, 9751 Ox Rd (Occoquan)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Ballast, Concrete, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6399138

Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail Description


The Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail is a multi-use trail that follows along the various stream valleys in Fairfax County, Virginia for 41.4 miles. It is officially named the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail in recognition of Congressman Connolly's strong support for open space and parkland during his tenure on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, although most people just refer to it as the Cross County Trail.

Some sections are wheelchair/mobility scooter accessible, while others feature rougher terrain that are not suited to even road bikes. Some sections are suitable for horseback riding, and the entire length of the Cross County Trail is open to foot traffic and bikes. 

NOTE: Periodic flooding in some areas can wash out sections of the trail in extreme events at worst. At best, spring rains can make sections muddy. Use caution and check the local website (link to the right) for trail alerts.

About the Route

The trail winds through northern Virginia's hardwood forests, much of it bottomland—as it follows stream courses that braid their way throughout the county. Some of the trail passes through the forest and meadows of county parks, while other sections pass through county-owned land that borders wooded subdivisions. In addition, trail users will find nearby shopping and business districts. 

The northern terminus is located at legendary Great Falls Park along the Potomac River. The trail heads southwest from here along Difficult Run River, with a slight gap in the trail along Leesburg Pike. The trail then heads south through Tamarack Park and Little Difficult Run Stream Park. In Oakton, the trail turns east and begins to follow Accotink Creek.

Here, the trail passes through Mantua Park and the Eakin Community Park. In Annandale, the trail heads due south once again, still following the Accotink Creek as it passes through Mill Creek Park and Americana Park and finally skirts around Lake Accotink in Lake Accotink Park.

The southernmost section of the trail first follows Pohick Creek and then leaves off from the streambed altogether to pass through suburban neighborhoods. This section also passes Laurel Hill, the former site of the Lorton Prison, now an expansive county park with lots to offer.

Heading south, the trail extends to the Occoquan River, where it reaches its southern terminus at the Occoquan Regional Park.

Trail users will see lots of wildlife, such as deer, foxes, muskrats, amphibians, and many species of birds, including hawks and owls.


A small portion of the trail in Vienna follows the Washington & Old Dominion Trail (aka the W&OD Trail).

In Oakton, the trail connects with the Blake Lane Sidepath.

In Springfield, the trail connects to the Lake Accotink Trail and the Fairfax County Parkway Trail.

In Occoquan, the trail connects to the Ox Road Sidepath.




Parking and Trail Access

The Gerry Connolly Trail runs between the Potomac River at Difficult Run (Great Falls National Park) and Occoquan Regional Park, 9751 Ox Rd (Occoquan), with parking at the southern end.

Parking is also available at:

  • Eakin Community Park, 8515 Tobin Rd (Annandale)
  • 8100 Braddock Rd (Annandale)
  • 6500 Byron Ave (Springfield)

There are numerous parking options along the route, Please see TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail Reviews

can’t even find parking

The map gave us the start of the trail. But, it was in a neighborhood and there was no parking at all.

Why are the signs so unclear?

All I wanted to do was get from the Springfield Metro Station to Springfield - by Sydenstricker/Rolling Road. It's really unclear (or at least on both my GPS apps) on how to get back. Bike baths just kept ending and there was no sign (that I could see) indicating an alternate path, I had to weave thru neighborhoods guessing - but again w/no real signs and sometimes it just felt like it kept leading me again and again to the parkway. A few more signs, a bit more clarity. I've never struggled with a path so much and I bike all over MD, DC and VA. I seriously went around in circles around Hooes and Rolling for over 1.5 hours. I finally just biked on the emergency lane on the Parkway to get to Backlick.

Long, multi use trail

This trail is mostly paved and runs through varied terrain. It travels along a creek, through the woods, near an old repurposed prison, and several neighborhoods. I started at the Southern terminus. Time only allowed me to ride the southern 10 miles (10 out and 10 back). Although paved, I’d recommend a hybrid, gravel, mountain or comfort bike of you are biking it. There are rooted areas and some creek crossings with cement stepping areas to get across. There were very few on the trail on the Wednesday afternoon that I wenrX There are some tricky forks in the path. Make sure you have a map or app accessible.

Nice Trail - Beware a bridge

I ride the paved part of the trail from Picket Road, Fairfax, past Americana Park and stop when the trail turns to crushed stone and gravel - where I turn back. It is a very nice ride and not too difficult. From Picket Road to the end of the paved trail is about 6 miles one way, fairly flat, nicely covered, and a pleasant ride through the woods with only a few street crossings.

As of 8/27/22, the wooden bridge 0.2 miles north of the Braddock Road underpass has a board that is rotting and most of it is missing. It is probably only 5 inches wide and easily navigated, but you need to cross it carefully.

Other than that one small spot, a good ride for all.........


Not for beginners

Avoid my mistake! Please read the reviews before you try this trail, which depending on what section you are on is a mixed bag of paved, single tracks, rocks, gravels, dirt, and exposed tree roots at . My number 1 complaint would be poorly marked sign. Sometimes the trail is just lost with no signs at all. I had to back track many places to find the signs. Even the signs are tiny with arrows in burgundy, not very visible. Why not bright red, yellow, or orange? Section in Fairfax City going south, starting at Jermantown Road is paved and the most beautiful once you get off the road at Pickett Road into the trail all the way to Springfield. Passing this point is Pohick, which I haven't got a chance to explore yet. Reading the reviews, I would expect as rough as the north section, which I tried over the weekend from W&OD entrance, passing through Reston, Vienna, and finally connects at Jermantown Road in Fairfax. To survive this section you need a hybrid bike at least, if not gravel or mountain bike. You are pretty much in the woods, following Difficult Run. Don't get hurt! Uber would not be able to find you in the woods. There are exposed tree roots, rocks, gravels, down trees, mud, and single track. Sometimes there is no bridge to cross the streams, no stepping stones either, so you would have to carry your bike skipping from rock to rock. I got fooled the previous weekend when I tried from Springfield to Fairfax and would expect the same in the north section. I have yet to explore the last northern section from W&OD to Great Falls and the southern most, from Pohick to the Occoquan. Now reading the reviews, I would expect as rough as the Reston section. Don't let the mileage mislead you. If you are in the rough sections, allow plenty of time as you don't want to get stuck in the woods in the dark. Notwithstanding the rough and poor signage, this trail is overall beautiful, wooded, nature bound with plenty to see. Enjoy!

GT/cross-county Trail Markers are almost non-existant

I took my bike and started up this trail from its terminus at the Occoquan Marine Park near Lorton, VA. For the 1st mile, it was obvious, a nice paved trail heading inland slightly up hill. After a mile, I encountered a cross-walk. There was NO marker on the other side, but I assumed the trail continued there. It then went into and around the side of the old Lorton Prison, which is now called the Workhouse complex. Within the complex, the trail ... just came to a stop at a parking lot. No signs, no arrows ... no anything. The map which Traillink provides showed no clear detail of where to go next. I asked 3 people, none of whom had any idea. I biked around all the buildings, went out onto the street, found nothing, and got ready to quit. Then, I talked to a biker who said to find the trail, I had to go out onto a main road (Workhouse Rd.), turn right, and I'd eventually find some signs. I biked over a mile, went into another park and biked around, and found nothing. Finally, I saw what looked like the trail, going UNDER the main road through a tunnel. Biked back up Workhouse Rd, eventually found a small branch off the road with a small GT trail sign in the back, followed its paved trail, only to find it dead-ending. Backtracked and discovered I had to branch off the paving onto a dirt trail to keep on the GT trail. Took it for 1/2 mile, came to a fork in the trail, but again, no sign as to which fork to take. I then gave up in disgust, and biked back to my car.

This trail markers are very poor. Fairfax Cty is a major well-maintained municipality. One would think its major cross-county trail would be reasonably marked. Its not. Thoroughly disgusted!!!


Seems like a great path but horribly marked. I started at the Occoquan end and made it maybe five miles before getting frustrated and lost several times. There are intersecting trails, neighborhood paths, etc. that all look the same but no signage to tell you which way to go. Halfway through I started using this app for the trail map and still got off the trail several times.

great community trail, but could use updated markings

Last July I walked the north half of this trail (top 20 miles) and today I walked the bottom half (bottom 20 miles). Both halves were beautiful, though I think I’d give a slight edge to the northern half in terms of beauty and general enjoyment. When I walked the northern half last year, I relied solely on the maps provided by fairfax county, which are black and white and not particularly detailed. Since I made it through the hike, they obviously got the job done, but not without a lot of backtracking and hunting for trail markers. The southern half would have been just as bad, if not worse, if I hadn’t found this app last night before I left this morning. For any others considering traversing the entire county by foot-whether in two trips or more-this app will save you from a huge amount of backtracking and stress thinking you have left the trail. Overall, it was a great hike though!

Great in sections

I ride this trail regularly. First of all you must have a hybrid, gravel or mountain bike to traverse several sections of gravel. My favorite section is between West Springfield and Route 50 because you pass by beautiful Lake Accotink.

awesome ride! just consider fatties

This is a mid-level bike trail with plenty of off trail single tracking. Most of the path is paved. There are some rough areas which is why I say, mid-level. Your gonna carry your $3000 road bike. I would have been very happy on my gravel bike, but I chose my fixed gear road bike. I know! I didn’t read reviews, and I’m kicking myself for it! But I still had an awesome time carrying some of the way.

I agree with others- not for road bike

Too many bumps, gravels and turns. Uneven concrete. I have a very light road bike and it was too much for my gears and pedals

Do not attempt with a road bike!

Started at the north end and got ½ mile in before turning around. Large cobble stones, slick mud, large rocks, stair steps to bridge crossings and rocky water crossings are BAD news for road tires! Nobby mountain or gravel tires will have no problems. Don’t try without the right tired unless you want to ruin your bike crashing.

Fun, but definitely need at least a hybrid

This describes the first 7 miles of the trail from the south. I started at Occoquan Regional Park (more on this later), so traveled about 1.5 mi (all steeply uphill) before actually getting to the southern terminus of the CCT. I have to say that the trail is not well marked. Note that as you fly down Workhouse Rd the trail secretly takes a right without much signage. Also, as has been noted in previous reviews, the path through the prison area was very confusing, again due to lack of signage. After the prison, the trail continues with asphalt - thanks to the person who spray painted directional signals on the asphalt where users must make turns. I had fun crossing the creek several times. With the water level I dismounted only once. Otherwise plowed through the water like a kid! Not long after crossing Pohick Rd (approx 1.5 mi) the trail turned from asphalt to dirt/rocks. Encountered a newly fallen (I swear based on the fresh smell of the leaves and branches that it had fallen the night before) tree that required some nifty maneuvering. I continued on this for a bit, then decided to turn around. Will explore more of the trail later.

But, while parking at Occoquan Regional Park required a 1.5 mile uphill at the start, it provides a 1.5 mile downhill at the end. Plus, and this is the real bonus, you can coast right down to the Brickmaker’s Cafe and have a beer or two before you head out. I recommend the Port City Porter.

Not for Road Bikes

I wish I read the reviews before taking my road bike on this trail. I started at the Lorton entrance and the trail quickly became mud and gravel. My road slick tires were definitely ill equipped for this segment of the trail. Better for cyclocross and mountain bikes.

Currently Flooded

This is a wonderful trail when it's not flooded. I would give it a 5 star rating if it didn't flood. However, it floods way to often. Currently 2/27/2017 it's flooded. Does anyone who to contact so that it can be fixed? They need to raise the concrete circles up about a foot.

After a rain, it always floods at the first crossing of Pohick Creek going north from Alban/Pohick Rd. This is the crossing just West of Godolphin Rd.

The third crossing of Pohick Creek (just East of SouthRun Rd. and Pohick intersection) is currently flooded. After running this trail for 3 years, I've never seen this intersection flood, but now there is a wide span of stationary water that is about 3 inches above the concrete circles.

Again, my recommendation is to raise the concrete circles about 1 foot to avoid all problems. This seems to be an inexpensive fix that will greatly increase the use of the trail. I'm sure people avoid this trail to avoid having to turn back due to flooding.


Mixed Quality between Occoquan Regional Park and 641/Pohick

4/30/16 - Review of the section between Occoquan Regional Park and 641. The trail-quality is a mixed bag of everything - fenced trail entrances that require you to dismount, single-track dirt trails, public sidewalks, old paved trails with gaps, roads under construction, and unmarked mile-long detours. But it also has sections of beautiful well-groomed paths under trees.

Note - There is major construction around the Lorton Prison (closed) to be avoided. When biking south-to-north (starting at the Occoquan), the detour sign near the SW side of the prison is missing. You must bear LEFT and follow the western edge of the prison towards South County High School. Avoid the Southern and Eastern sides of the prison, There are two climbs and we got stuck in the mud (it had rained the day before).

great but can be confusing

Tried riding down to the Ocoquan and just before the Franconia Springfield parkway the trail disappears. No signage on where to go. Only found out later from this how to go. Besides that love the trail

Long, changing, and beautiful

Entire Trail in One Trip

Completed 09/13/2015
On my hybrid bicycle, I began the one-way trip at Occoquan Park and rode north to Great Falls Park. This was a beautiful trip. You'll see unique landmarks over the entirety of the trail.

The trail was fairly easy and well paved in sections 1-6. Sometimes concrete/cement, sometimes gravelly, but nothing too challenging, although there are dirt and rooty sections here and there. The terrain is a bit hilly, but there's just as much downhill as there is uphill.

Things started to get tricky at Section 7, about 25 miles in from my starting point, where you turn off of Blake. Say goodbye to paved trails. From here on out it's all roots, rocks, narrow paths, and treacherous lees. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone without good biking skills, or a bike that can handle it. It's a much bigger challenge than what came before it. That being said, there's still no shortage of beauty.

The last few miles before reaching the falls were awesome. Very scenic. It was well worth the 43.5 miles I put in that day.

Challenging and Scenic

I have hit this trail 3 times for rides over 26 miles and I love it. The southern part of the trail will kick your butt if you aren't in shape as it has non stop elevation and surface changes. You will not get far on anything but a mountain bike, there is lots of pavement on this trail but once it goes dirt/gravel it gets primitive quick. There are about 8 stream crossings on the southern part and unless you dismount and walk across the pylons you will get wet. But hey, who Mtn bikes looking to stay all comfortable?? Not me!! The only thing that needs improvement is the trail marking, it's pathetic and causes multiple wrong/dead end runs so first timers be warned. There are scores of forks along this trail so I would keep this App open and consult often or do like me and figure it out and consider the wrong turns part of the challenge! Enjoy!

no bikes

Beautiful setting but no beginners biking. The trail is quite primitive so mountain bike is best. Enjoy.

Great running trail

I ran there Sunday afternoon and was a great trail. I started off of Arlington Road/50 and headed 4 miles until the trail ended in Americana Park. There were a few fellow runners and 3-4 bikes on the trail. I saw two deer close to the trail. All in all, it was a great shaded trail that I would recommend.

Between 66 and 495 (Hybrid)

I started off my ride next to route 50 and rode North to 66, after that I rode down to 495 and rode back to 50. Approx 5 miles one-way.

I've a hybrid bike and I currently have rode tires on it. I rode on a dry day it hasn't rained in the past 24 hrs. It has rained in the past 48 hrs.

The trail is great, the stretch between those two points is about 80% asphalt, 10% dirt, 10% medium rock, and the rock is beaten in pretty well. The grade of the land is slight, there isn't much elevation change. I did notice the trail sort of starts and stops and that the trail markings aren't always blatantly obvious.

My hybrid road tires were able to handle the terrain well. I was worried about a rock putting a hole in my tire, but I'd still worry even with mountain tires on. I definitely recommend bringing a spare tube.

Overall, this was a great leg of the trail. I'm going to grab a set of mountain tires and see if I can't complete this entire trail on my hybrid.

Very Additive

I have ridden and run on many trails in the DC area but this is my favorite. Of course it is only a block from my house in Annandale.

The trail is off-road from Fairfax City to Fairfax Parkway and runs thru woods along the Accotink River for many miles. Usually not crowded. Some wildlife along the way, but mostly secluded. Great for biking, hiking and running, but not road bikes.

Great Running Resource

I have lived in the Fairfax/Annandale area for over three years. Prior to living in Virginia, I lived in California and Florida which both have extensive road and running trails. I was looking for a trail or area that I could run in to prepare for a marathon and found this route via the Rails-to-Trails website (super resource). My daughter and I ventured onto the trail staring at Braddock Road and headed northbound. We went 9.5 miles northbound (starting from our residence which is about 3+ miles away) and went passed King Arthur Road.

As many others have said, there are a variety of surfaces and we crossed the river twice without bridges. The crossing areas had sufficient rocks to cross in the first spot and the second had pile-ons which we had to carefully traverse but it kept us out of the water. We only crossed three roads from Braddock Road to King Arthur Drive and there was very little traffic. I was amazed that we could run in a cross country type environment for a long trek without having to constantly cross roads. Your running times will be a little slower than usual, but that is the nature of cross country running.

In the future I will go southbound to check out that part of the trail. Next week we will go northbound for 10 miles to see what else is beyond King Arthur Drive. Overall, I totally recommend this trail. I am going to donate money for the maintenance of the trail since it is obviously an asset that greatly serves our community.

Great trail with a lot of variety, but not good for road bikes

I love this trail. It is probably my favorite place to ride in N. VA. I like to ride cross-country with mixed terrain and this trail offers about every surface you can imagine. I have traveled most of its length over the course of various rides and have biked on pavement, gravel, dirt, rocks, and grass. I ride a mountain bike that has been geared towards mixed surfaces, so I enjoy going through the water at the fair-weather crossings and winding through some of the dirt sections. There are also some nice stretches of pavement, and even some occasional suburban street riding. Some reviewers have said that this trail is not for hybrids. I would agree on some sections, especially on the northern end, but there are some really nice parts that would be a lot of fun on a hybrid. The section from Springfield, starting near the Fairfax County Pkwy, running north to Lake Accotink is mostly paved with beautiful scenery and only one fair-weather crossing (a stream crossing that you have to ride through the water, or get off your bike and walk over stepping stones). I would highly recommend this trail to anyone looking for something different than W&OD or Mt. Vernon. Likes - A fun ride that alternates between a lot of different terrain. Beautiful stretches of wooded trails...sometimes you can't even tell you're in the DC Metro area. Very few of the type-A bikers that pass without warning, cut into the path of oncoming trail users, and shoot hostile looks at people not riding $2k bikes while fully clad in spandex (all common occurrences on the W&OD and Mt. Vernon trails). Dislikes - Some sections get a bit rough, even for a mtn bike...they really should invest in a little maintenance along the northern stretch of Difficult Run. I don't mean paving dirt paths, but they could fill in some of the deeper holes and fix the washed out section near Great Falls. While the path is often marked with little CCT signs, they are inexplicably missing at a lot of spots where the path splits. If there is a junction, there should always be marker indicating the correct path. The CCT is more of a network of trails than a single continuous route. It is not always obvious which way to go at a fork. When riding sections that were new to me, I'd often refer to a map just to make sure I was on the right track.

Great, depending on your expectations

Much of this trail is very rough, while some is smooth, brand-new asphalt. I run on it most often, and it's an amazing resource for that. For cycling, it's more of a mixed bag. Portions near my house are all but impassable for high-end skinny-tire bikes unless they're piloted by experience cyclocross types. We run much of the rough stuff with tadpole trikes and a child trailor, which is rough, but passable.

There are unbridged creek crossing that require wetting the feet, and it's not always obvious how to connect the different pieces of trail, but it's one of the few ways to be in the woods in this urban area for many miles at a time.

Not for hybrids.

I was there in mid - October. We started from Great Falls park. It was a mistake, because the park part of trail was in poor condition – (deep sand, washed-off parts etc) and very hilly. This part of the trail ends at VERY dangerous (maybe 1.5 mile) Old Dominion Rd. The road is narrow, one lane each way and has a lot of traffic. After about 0.8 mile, there is a parking lot, where the trail continues. We were on hybrids, and after about 3 miles we turned back. The narrow path was muddy and barely paved. The pavement was not gravel, but big chunks of rock. There were many big trunks of fallen trees across the path. Small streams washed big gaps on the path. On the trail we meet some serious mountain bike guys. They told us, that the road is impassable for hybrids for at least 15 miles (they did not know about the rest of the trail). All 3 miles and back, we carried bikes more than ride them.

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