Lake Accotink Trail

Virginia

Lake Accotink Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: Fairfax
Length: 4.5 miles
Trail end points: Marina at Lake Accotink Park and Heming Ave. (Springfield)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017554
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

With Unlimited:

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

Get Your Guidebook!

Support Trails and Pick Your FREE Guidebook Today!

When you make your gift of $35 now just $30 or more to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we’ll be thrilled to send you your choice of one of our 11 great guidebooks—FREE!

Lake Accotink Trail Description

In Northern Virginia's suburban community of Springfield, Lake Accotink Park provides a wilderness escape amid the city surroundings. The 500-acre park features picnic areas, miniature golf, an antique carousel, a 55-acre lake with canoe and kayak rentals and, of course, trails. The Lake Accotink Trail follows part of the former rail bed of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, along which soldiers and materials were transported during the Civil War. Historical markers outline the railroad's history and help mark the entry to the park.

At the trail's start, it's impossible to miss the still-operating trestle bridge running high above Accotink Creek. The creek's dam, constructed more then 50 years ago, created a popular fishing hole. As you leave the picnic and boat-rental area behind, the trail shoots up a short, steep hill toward the woods surrounding the lake. (If that seems daunting, do the route in reverse and take the 60-degree hill on its descent, instead.) The first half of this route hugs the lake's curves as it travels deeper into the small woodlands preserve that provides shade and wonderful views of marshland and the lake.

When you reach the fork in the road at the trail's midpoint, either continue straight to get another 0.75-mile jaunt on the rail-trail before it dead-ends at Rolling Road, or follow the trail marker indicating a right turn to loop back to your starting point. This 4.5-mile option takes you down a short hill and onto neighborhood sidewalks for three or four blocks and past an elementary school before you return to the park. On the main route, several stairs lead downhill to a bridge and back to the Lake Accotink Trail, which circles around the other side of the lake, to the creek and surrounding marshland. Your round trip will end with a wonderful view of the antique carousel and geese swimming in the shallow lake waters.

Parking and Trail Access

From Washington, D.C., take Interstate 395 south. Take Exit 2B (Edsall Road) and travel 1 mile. Turn left onto Backlick Road. Take the third right onto Leesville Boulevard, and then turn left onto Heming Avenue. Turn right into Lake Accotink State Park just before Heming Avenue curves to the east.

Lake Accotink Trail Reviews

Great nature viewing! Saw three deer and a robin. Heard several crows. Totally worth it, alone. Almost completely shaded with the exception of a small stretch by the marina. Perfect for Summer running! Kept it cooler.

Nice wide path, gravel. In some parts the gravel is very large and that can make an impact on your feet when you strike the ground. But for the most part, it's small gravel, dirt. Got lost trying to stay on the trail to loop the lake. There's a turn off but it wasn't obvious to me that I should go that way so I went straight for a while before turning around. There are some decent hills to run up/down. I did not get to the section of the trail that has the steady gradient that some other reviewers mentioned.

I would definitely go again. Will add it to my rotation.

I started at the dam, along the northern bank. The trail isn't blazed, but it's also obvious what path the trail takes. Obvious, that is, until the top of the loop.

You are unceremoniously dumped into a residential neighborhood with absolutely no markings as to where the trail continues. Coming up the hill, there are four possible routes to take. I tried three, and after not finding the continuation of the trail (and wasting 45 minutes), I returned the way I came.

Thoroughly unsatisfying.

If you take the backwards way, it's not that bad of a trip. Taking the long 60 degree hill is a challenge but it's not too bad. I'm a smoker and was able to do the lake accotink and got lost in the cross country(so I did about 5-8 miles of biking). I was lost but it was a joy riding around on the trails. If you take the off routes by the bridge over the train, it's amazing joy to take all those extreme jumps and conditions. The main course is a breeze and extremely enjoyable. I don't recommend doing the whole train right away. Study the train and go half way until you complete it all. Just to get used to the conditions. I ride this trail 2-3 times a week. I highly recommend going to this.

Accordion

I made my maiden voyage from Audrey Moore Recreation Center to the Lake Accotink Trail. The trail is mostly dirt, gravel (large rocks), shaded by large trees and slight elevation changes. The distance is between 6.5 to 7 miles. The trail was wide enough for bike and running traffic. Highlights of the trek included going under Braddock Road and running along the Accotink stream. The views of the lake were from an elevated position with windows through the large trees. The Lake Accotink Marina had a restroom and water fountain which is about the half way point. Things to beware; the backside of the loop is not clearly marked, you do have to run or bike along residental roads to rejoin the trail so read/memorize the route.

The loop trail around the lake is just under four miles and if you are in shape it is a very fast ride, most of it is quite level with a few hills thrown in. The trail is very well maintained. Don't let the other review scare you, I ride it with my kid in the bike trailer all the time and it's around 20 minutes with the trailer. The first steep hill is indeed a nice quadricep-blaster but you can also go counter-clockwise around the lake and come down this hill if you can't handle it. Unless you are a complete novice you will have no problem with this trail.

There are also nice mountain bike trails on the south side of the lake, continue up past the dam and follow the singletrack up the hill off of the main trail in to a large trail network that will keep you busy for some time. A lot of up and down and some challenging drops/climbs. The loop trail connects you with other trails at Wakefield Park so you can really make a day of it between the two parks. These trails are not dedicated for bikes so be mindful of other trail users of course.

My husband and I were under the wrong impression about this trail and ended up with quite the challenge (in the rain, no less!, and pulling a bike trailer with our 3-year-old on board). The trail starts with about a 60-degree hill for about 100 feet. This part of the trail is paved but after that you can count on lots of dirt and mud and very loose gravel which makes for a slick, skidding surface in the rain. Make sure you have your MTB tires in good condition! The trail also runs at uphill the entire way around the lake in this direction with a few steep, very brief descents (one of them so steep that there is a sign warning bikers to get off their bikes and walk).

There was a short jaunt up a residential street (Danbury Rd, I believe) past a school, and this was the easiest part of the trail even though it was uphill too.

There was no coasting, no relaxing, and I couldn't tell you a single portion of scenery we passed because I was too busy concentrating on powering up inclines on wet, loose stone and staying on my bike! Granted, I only started riding about 6 weeks ago (weekends only) and have been doing paved trails only up to this point.

We made it the entire 3.8 miles around the entire loop and back to the parking lot by the carousel, but it did take us about 40 minutes to accomplish this and my husband had to walk the trailer and his bike up quite a few hills (he has only been riding about a month).

I think this would be a decent challenge for an advanced beginner/intermediate mountain biker and fun day out for someone with more experience and stamina. I was able to conservatively ride the entire loop on my Giant but did have to get off and walk down some steep inclines (at the beginning and end of the street section of the trail). Our son did not enjoy the ride at all as he was bounced around more than a kernel of corn in a hot air popper.

I felt it was a very good challenge for myself, not something I'd do every weekend though. It was too much for my husband (who not only had slicks on his touring bike but was also pulling the trailer). It certainly gave us a lot to talk about afterward though!

"THE PART OF THE LAKE ACCOTINK TRAIL THAT
RUNS FROM ROLLING ROAD DOWN TO THE LAKE
IS ONE OF THE FEW REMAINING PARTS OF THE
ORIGINAL GRADE OF THE ORANGE AND
ALEXANDRIA RAILROAD, BUILT IN 1853. THE
CROSSING OF ACCOTINK CREEK HAS BEEN
REALIGNED TWICE SINCE THEN. THE ORIGINAL
CREEK CROSSING AND THE FIRST REALIGNMENT
ARE GONE FOREVER. THE SECOND REALIGNMENT
IS THE PRESENT RAILROAD BRIDGE OVER THE
CREEK. IF YOU LOOK CAREFULLY AS YOU COME
AROUND THE LAST BEND APPROACHING THE LAKE,
YOU CAN VISUALIZE IN YOUR MIND WHERE THE
ORIGINAL CROSSING WAS. AS YOU WALK OR
BIKE DOWN THE GRADE FROM ROLLING ROAD, IT
IS INTERESTING TO LET YOUR MIND IMAGINE
THE DAYS WHEN THE MOST ADVANCED LOCOMOTIVE
WAS THE 4-4-0 ""AMERICAN."" YOU CAN JUST
SEE THE ENGINEER STRUGGLING TO GET HIS
LOAD UP THAT LONG GRADE! ALL IN ALL, A
VERY WORTHY RIDE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN
RAILROAD HISTORY."

Trail Events

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

Add an Event

Events nearby

organizer logo
Henson Creek Trail
Fort Washington, MD

Join the 100 Black Men of Prince George's County, Maryland for a 5K Walk for Children's Mental Health Awareness and Support. On Site Registration:...

#5k #race #run
Sat Jul 29 2017
organizer logo
Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (W&OD)
Arlington, VA

Join us for the 4th Annual Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride - a "Sizzling Suburban Century" benefiting Phoenix Bikes' Capital Campaign for a new home! The...

#bike #race
Fri Aug 04 2017
Accordion
organizer logo
Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (W&OD)
Vienna, VA

ACE Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Institute, Safety And Health Foundation, and Friends of the W&OD Trail are delighted to welcome you! This event...

#5k #run #walk
Sat Aug 05 2017
organizer logo
Four Mile Run Trail
Arlington, VA

Do you like working outside? Join community volunteers in protecting the local environment from invasive plants. This is a continuing project on the...

#cleanup #volunteer
Sat Jun 24 2017
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

Cross County Trail (VA)

Virginia - 40 miles

The Cross County Trail is a multi-use trail that generally follows the various stream valleys in Fairfax County, Virginia. Some sections are...

Braddock Road Sidepath

Virginia - 10 miles

The Braddock Road Sidepath parallels Braddock Road and New Braddock Road (State Route 620) between Centreville and Burke, two bedroom communities in...

Burke VRE Trail

Virginia - 1.4 miles

Burke VRE Trail lies within Pohick Stream Valley Park and provides an important commuting and recreational corridor, connecting a shopping center,...

Accordion

Fairfax County Parkway Trail

Virginia - 28.3 miles

The Fairfax County Parkway Trail parallels Fairfax County Parkway/State Route 286 on its route across Fairfax County, Virginia. While the paved trail...

Burke Lake Loop Trail

Virginia - 4.5 miles

The Burke Lake Loop Trail offers nearly 5 miles of trail to hike, bike, or simply walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The trail is nestled...

Lake Mercer Loop Trail

Virginia - 5.3 miles

The Lake Mercer Loop Trail wraps around Lake Mercer in Fairfax and is slightly over five miles in length. From the Lake Mercer Loop Trail you can hop...

Ox Road Sidepath

Virginia - 11.5 miles

The Ox Road Sidepath is a paved trail that runs parallel to Ox Road/State Route 123 in Fairfax County. The trail runs from George Mason University's...

Holmes Run Trail

Virginia - 5.2 miles

The Holmes Run Trail offers a scenic pathway through the heart of a busy residential area in Alexandria and adjoining Fairfax County, both suburbs of...

Blake Lane Sidepath

Virginia - 3 miles

The Blake Lane Sidepath runs for 3 miles, linking Oak Marr Park and Recreation Center with neighborhoods, Oakton High School and other parks. Most of...

Beulah Street Sidepath

Virginia - 3.25 miles

Running parallel to Beulah Street from Franconia to Fort Belvoir in southeast Fairfax County, the paved Beulah Street Sidepath provides a link to...

Cameron Station Linear Park

Virginia - 1 miles

Cameron Station Linear Park is the quintessential neighborhood trail. Located in Alexandria, a suburb of Washington, D.C., it offers a pleasant paved...

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...

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