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Reston VA on Foot

Even in this heat, Restonians love walking. Seriously. Of course, lately I’ve noticed they’re doing it very early in the morning before the heat index gets too high. One of the best features of Reston is the 55 miles of pathways that Reston Association maintains. You can get anywhere in Reston by foot — the path may not always be straight, but if you want to, you can go wherever you want. And you won’t have to cross very many streets to do it.

Reston Association has a comprehensive map of all the trails online, or you can go to the RA offices and get a print version of it. The Fairfax County trail buddy is an interactive map of all the streets and paths, and provides a great way to plan a route before you head out in the heat.

If you want to really get to know Reston, wandering the paths is the best way. Here are some of my favorite walks to get you started.

  • Walker Nature Education Center and Glade, South Reston. From the Center, follow the trailhead and see where it takes you—you have several options. You also have the option of just hanging out at the Center and learning about the wildlife in Reston. But if you do decide to walk, there is a short loop around the property (probably ½ mile), or you can venture off on the RA path that follows Glade. Whatever you choose, you will feel like you are miles from civilization.
  • Lake Anne to Town Center, North Reston. This walk is just shy of 1.5 miles, winding through two of North Reston’s original neighborhoods — Hickory Woods and Coleson Cluster. It’s fun on Saturday mornings in the summer to shop at the Farmer’s Market, then walk up to Town Center for brunch (or park at Town Center, walk to the Farmer’s Market and then walk back — talk about great exercise!).
  • Tall Oaks to Lake Fairfax Park, North Reston. Did you know you can access Lake Fairfax Park from Tall Oaks? A lot of people don’t, but it’s a great way to get to all the biking and hiking trails without dealing with all the summer traffic in the park. The park loop takes about half an hour — longer if you’re with a dog who needs to investigate all the great smells. Park at Tall Oaks Village Center, cross under the underpass and head toward the wooden bridge. When you hit a dirt trailhead, take a left and follow the trail into Lake Fairfax Park. You’ll cross a little creek and then the path opens to what is a large loop. Go left or right and just follow it around.
  • Lake Thoreau Loop, South Reston. This loop is just over two miles and circles around charming Lake Thoreau (where I guarantee you’ll decide you want to live) and past the Reston Regional Golf Course. Begin and end your loop at South Lakes Village with a coffee or delicious lunch at Red’s Table or Cafésano.
  • North Point Loop, North Reston. This is a four-mile loop for those who want a little more exercise. I like this trail because it gives you a sense of the North Point community. These trails take you through several charming neighborhoods, and you’ll notice an abundance of RA pools and tennis courts (in fact, if you do this in the summer, pop into one of the pools for a refreshing dip). After your brisk walk, cross the street over to North Point Village for coffee, ice cream, or a hearty lunch!

Ready to hit the trails? I’m most often on the trails around Lake Anne; maybe we’ll see each other.

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