The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is a designated route connecting various trails and historic sites in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. The network includes around 710 miles of existing and planned portions along the route of the Potomac River, the upper Ohio River watershed and a part of the Rappahannock River watershed. www.travelrows.com
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail on the map:
The route is managed by the National Park Service and also boasts numerous side trails and alternative options. If you are interested in a long distance hike, cycle tour, horse-back ride or even paddling adventure – this National Scenic Trail could be an interesting option to consider.
Planning an Adventure on the Potomac Heritage Trail
The wetlands below are located on the left side of the trail, you will find a few small paths where you can come out to the light, the trail itself is covered with trees and leaves really good, which makes it nice to walk in summer.
The first thing to consider when planning an adventure on the Potomac Heritage Trail is now you would like to travel. You could consider a simple hike along some or all of the existing trail sections. A cycle could also be a wonderful way to explore parts of this route. Other visitors might consider a horse-back ride through some of the amazing landscapes along the trail. Or, if you love the water and hear the song of the paddle, you could perhaps consider a kayaking or canoeing adventure on the Potomac River.
Of course, you will also have to consider which section or sections of the trail you would be most interested in visiting. On the National Park Service website, you can plan your visit either by mode of travel or by region. Maps of the trails and routes are available to guide you, and help you to make the right decision.
Finally, you will also have to consider how long you have available for your adventure. Slow travel options like those described above take time, and it is important not to bite off more than you can chew. In short, it is best to explore a smaller area in depth, rather than trying to do too much too fast. An adventure on a section of the Potomac Heritage Trail is an opportunity to get close to nature and (sometimes literally) stop and smell the flowers.
Highlights for Hikers
There are many enticing places to hike along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Some top places for a hike include:
- Ohiopyle State Park, PA
- Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, DC/ MD
- Algonkian Regional Park & Great Falls Park, VA
- Smallwood State Park, National Colonial Farm & Historic St Mary’s City, MD
- George Washington Birthplace National Monument & Westmoreland State Park, VA
Highlights for Cyclists
Top spots for cyclists include:
- The Eastern Continental Divide & Marsh Mountain to Fork Mountain
- The C&O Canal Towpath & Western Maryland Rail trail
- Alexandria’s Canal Trail & Prince William Forest Park
- Fort Washington to Point Lookout
- Loops in the northern neck of Virginia
Highlights for Paddlers
Highlights for kayaking and canoeing:
- Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network’s water trails
- Tidal Potomac
- Middle Potomac
- Upper Potomac
- North Potomac
However you want to travel, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail offers plenty of opportunities for adventure.