Potomac Heritage Trail: What can be ridden?
I've read a bit about the Potomac Heritage trail. I know much of it is not open to bicycles. It is made up of many different parks and trail networks.
It would be interesting to hear from people what parts are open and what people have ridden. I think the park service consideres the C&O part of the network. I think we're all familiar with that. On the Virginia side there is a lot that many of us are not familiar with.
The trail inside the beltway from Roosevelt Island up past Chain Bridge is, to my knowledge, is not open to bicycles.
Just outside the beltway, Scotts Run Nature Reserve is a great place to hike, but hasn't been open to bicycles since the early 1990s.
Further up there are parts of both Great Falls and Riverbend Parks that are open to bicycles. Neither trail network is good if the trails are even mildly damp. They get muddy and eroded quite easily.
In the past there were trails that connected Riverbend to Algonquin park in Sterling. In the early 1990s there were issues with right of passage and disputes over private property (enforced by a rather vocal man with rock salt loaded in his shotgun) that made riding up stream from Riverbend a bit too adventurous for my taste. Rumor has it that this may have been resolved and that the trail can be followed Northwest from Riverbend.
That is the extent of my knowledge. I'll swing by the signage at Roosevelt Island on my way home some day this week and see what info it shares.
Thanks for your input.
I'm not sure about what is officially designated, but I've done some training jogs/runs along the river (Potomac Overlook Park to Chain Bridge) and it would be pretty tough to ride a bike there.
Between super soft sand, large rock scrambles where you'd have to do some extended CX shoulder action, and dodging people fishing, I don't think it would be all that enjoyable of a ride.
That's similar to what the trail next to the river between Great Falls and Riverbend was before that was closed.
I forgot Potomac Overlook. That was at one time in the very early 1990s open to bikes. It didn't last long.
Fun place to hike and run though. Is the tea house in the middle still open from time to time?
You can ride the Old Carriage Road and Ridge Trail within Great Falls Park. They are not technically parts of the PHT, I think, but there are some spots with nice views of the gorge.
It's not a very long ride, 2 miles or so at most, but you can connect to River Bend to about double it.
We did that as part of a ride with the Cross County Trail and Lake Fairfax a few weeks ago. It is a nice loop. Riverbend can get kinda muddy thoough. I like the new route on Difficult Run before entering Great Falls. It moved the trail way up away from the creek so that it stays dry.
Originally Posted by bkclmbkyk
I was kind of hoping to ride the PHT from the MVT turnoff up to Chain Bridge as an alt-commute home this afternoon. Looks like its off-limits to bikes along that stretch. I'm sure I would have learned that the extra-disappointing way reading the trailhead sign when I got there.
So far, my main out-of-the-way routes to get home (from West End up to MacArthur Blvd) are:
1) West End-->Hains Point-->14thSt Bridge-->MVT West-->Key Bridge-->CCT-->Home
2) West End-->Hains Point-->14St Bridge-->MVT East-->4MRun-->W&OD-->Custist-->Key Bridge-->CCT-->Home
3) West End-->Rock Creek Pkway-->Beech Dr-->Georgetown Branch Trail-->CCT-->Home
Looking for more detours to add to my portfolio.
I have accidentally biked the PHT from Roosevelt Island to Windy Run before. I carried my bike most of the way - particularly up Windy Run (it consists of a stair case up the cliff).
I have hiked most to lots of the PHT from Roosevelt to.... not really sure... Balls Run. The section inside the beltway, particularly inside Chain Bridge, is simply magnificent. Not as hard as Billy Goat A - but harder than Billy Goat B or C. Pretty much only dog walkers, fisher guys, or the occasional lost person.
The trail does go from rugged granite cliff - to - very soft, going to collapse under your foot, river bed - to - stream crossings. Not a good place for bikes.
Last edited by rcannon100; 11-29-2012 at 01:32 PM.
Certainly sounds like it. Guess I'll need to come up with an alternate alternate route for today's ride home.
Originally Posted by rcannon100
I have hiked Scotts Run with the family a couple times but yeah I seem to recall bikes aren't allowed. More's the pity, as it's fairly wide and well drained, and they have those awesome stepping stone creek crossing photo-ops. I've biked Great Falls a couple times on my 26" MTB, it was fine although a bit boring I thought.