Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail


phnst_small.jpgNVRC held a webinar in January, 2017 on long range trails in Northern Virginia for planners, land managers, transportation partners, parks and recreation, tourism staff, and other stakeholders.

Participants heard from the National Capital Trails Coalition, National Park Service, East Coast Greenways, W&OD Trails Manager, and Department of Conservation and Recreation staff on the following:

  1. Long Distance Trails within DC and Northern Virginia
  2. National Trails System and its benefits
  3. How long range trails benefit local routes, the region, and resources they can add to trail promotion and gap closures
  4. How to integrate long range trails into local networks and planning efforts
  5. How trails can support recreation beyond parks, with connection to natural areas, historic resources, and stories that they tell


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Corridor Analysis For the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail in Northern Virginia
The Corridor Analysis offers a regional summary of current and planned amenities, gaps, and plans for the Trail network, identifying proposed projects to enhance our communities and the Trail experience in Northern Virginia:

About the Trail

  • The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (PHT) is an evolving, 830-mile network of locally-managed trails and routes on both sides of the Potomac between the mouth of the River and the Allegheny Highlands in the upper Ohio River basin
  • Blending outdoor recreational opportunities with rich ecological, historical and cultural environments, the Trail network is intended for non-motorized modes of travel including, variously, foot, bicycle, boat, horse and cross-country skis
  • The Trail network in Northern Virginia includes various hiking, hiking/equestrian and hiking/equestrian/bicycling facilities, including the 10-mile Potomac Heritage Trail and 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail in George Washington Memorial Parkway, various trail segments in northern Fairfax and eastern Loudoun counties, and planned and existing segments in southern Fairfax and Prince William counties
  • Based on concept plans completed approximately 10 years ago, member jurisdictions have recognized the Trail in local comprehensive plans and the Commonwealth has recognized the trail in the Virginia Outdoors Plan
  • NVRC coordinates regular meetings among staff of member jurisdictions and other stakeholders provide means for coordination through the PHT Land Managers quarterly meetings.
  • More specifically, local PHT advocates in Northern Virginia are bringing into focus a continuous footpath between Locust Shade Park in southern Prince William County and White's Ferry near Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County, a distance of about one hundred miles
  • Upon completion users will be able to cross the Potomac at White’s Ferry and either continue north on the C&O Canal Towpath or continue south toward Georgetown to complete a loop using either Chain Bridge or the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge or the Arlington Memorial Bridge

NVRC's Role
  • NVRC supports the PHT through an agreement with the National Park Service, ongoing collaboration with the PHT Land Managers group, a collection of state, federal and local land managers and planners involved in the Heritage Trail in Northern Virginia
  • NVRC also sponsors enhancement grant funding for trail construction activities in several jurisdictions
  • Land managers meet quarterly, the second Wednesday in January, April, July, and October

More Information