A few weeks ago, after collecting donations for Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training at the Super Pet Expo in Chantilly, I took the girls to meet a friend for a hike at Rocky Run Stream Valley Trail in Fairfax. If you’re looking for a simple, dog-friendly hiking trail that’s within a 20-minute drive of the Beltway, this is it.
Just under 3 ½ miles long, the trail runs from the Fairfax County Parkway at Monument Drive to Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly. There’s no climbing, scrambling or jumping needed to enjoy this trail, it’s finished with asphalt and stone dust surfaces with very little change in elevation.
The trail winds along, and occasionally crosses, Rocky Run Stream. You can let your dog wade in the stream, but on leash only—Fairfax County’s leash law is enforced. While the trail is out of sight of major roadways, it’s still located in fairly dense suburbs and a runaway pup could reach a road quickly.
The parks provide a peaceful area to stop for a picnic, plus have the added benefit of restrooms (at Greenbrier and Lawrence).
One nice thing is that even though bikes are allowed on the trail, and horseback riding is permitted on the 623 acres of Lawrence Park, all we encountered on our warm early spring Sunday afternoon hike were a handful of walkers and runners. It’s really annoying to have to pull your dog close every few minutes to the call of, “On your left!” as a biker swooshes by.
There are four parking lots that provide access to the trail; two on either side of Walney Road at Lawrence Park, and at Greenbriar Park and one at Poplar Tree Park, both on Stringfellow Road.