“The Tale of Trails” in Fairfax County

Fairfax County has an extensive system of walking and biking trails suited for safe exercise, and Fairfax County’s Parks and Recreation Department works tirelessly to give residents ample opportunities to enjoy themselves in the outdoors. Many trails, for example, allow the whole family, and even some furry friends, to participate in a healthy outdoor activity of their choosing. However, ongoing construction and trail maintenance can sometimes make it difficult to determine which County trail is best for personal interests. Additionally—in order to maintain a city-like appearance with a more residential area in many locations—Fairfax County tends to tuck away the trails out of public view, making them even more difficult to discover.

To counter this, Fairfax County government has created two new, online interactive map systems, which can help users not only discover trails in their area, but they can also help people map out their desired routes. The first system, “Bike Fairfax”, can be found at www.tinyurl.com/zuj59wz. This system is designed specifically for bicyclists and highlights the many trails throughout Fairfax County that are suitable for biking.

A second map system, known as “Trail Buddy”, can be found at www.tinyurl.com/jamsc8x, and provides all the information one would need for both regional and local trail systems, as well as what surface material the trails are made out of and how wide they are. This allows users to plan a more desirable outdoor experience catered to what specifically interests them.

For those who are new to the trails, please know that no motorized vehicles are allowed. Trails are open from sunrise to sunset for personal safety, and are open to everyone, including walkers, runners, bike riders, and even horseback riders.

Throughout Fairfax County, there are regional trails that connect areas such as Lorton to areas as far away as Sterling. These trails span across the county in a generally circular direction and are more suited for those who enjoy more strenuous activities such as biking or training for long-distance runs, such as marathons.

Fairfax County also maintains what are known as local trails. These are the trails that snake through neighborhoods and parks and around ponds. These trails are perfect for family walks, leisurely exercise, and walking dogs. While bikes are welcome on all trails, local trails tend to be more narrow, making regional trails more suitable for serious cyclists.

No matter what trails you take and where they lead you, remember to stay hydrated, always bring a fully charged cell-phone and identification, apply sunscreen, and most importantly, enjoy yourself!

For more information about trails, please visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/trailsframe.htm.

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