Potomac Heritage Trail

The Potomac Heritage Trail is a favorite go-to run, offering nearly 20 miles of uninterrupted singletrack within the Beltway.

  • 19.5 miles
Running time
  • 3–5.5 hours
Total ascent/descent
  • 1,500 feet
    80 feet/mile

This run is an out-and-back, starting at Theodore Roosevelt Island and turning around at the Beltway at Cabin John Bridge. On any given weekend you are almost guaranteed to run into a club member, especially Ed Demoney, on the Potomac Heritage Trail.


The entire run generally follows the blue-blazed Potomac Heritage Trail. 7.1 miles from Roosevelt Island, one can make a left onto the side trail that climbs into Turkey Run Park, which has restrooms and water (in season). Continue through Turkey Run and rejoin the Potomac Heritage Trail after a mile. This is the route shown here.

For variety on the way back, or if you want to end your run with a tempo run, cross over Chain Bridge and return to Roosevelt Island on the C&O Canal.


Last updated June 16, 2020

What you do is up to you, but you shouldn't rely on these directions alone; they are often not specific enough to navigate by, and may be incorrect or out of date. Review a map beforehand and carry it with you. Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan to return. Do not count on having cell phone service while on the run. The VHTRC is not responsible for your welfare on any of these runs. If you go on one of these runs and get lost, run out of water, get injured, mauled by a bear, or die, or if anything else goes wrong, it's your fault; not ours. You assume all risks here and the VHTRC assumes none at all. Legal issues aside, some of these runs are more remote than others and the VHTRC is not suggesting that you do any of these runs, unless you are prepared to accept full responsibility for yourself.