National Trails Day is an annual event to celebrate trails with friends and loved ones, encourage stewardship of community hiking paths and raise awareness. The Fairfax County Park Authority seeks to do just that by providing educational resources and ways to maintain our beautiful trails across the county while bringing our communities together.
“Hiking is not escapism; it’s realism. The people who choose to spend time outdoors are not running away from anything; we are returning to where we belong,” said Jennifer Pharr Davis, Appalachian Trail Record Holder.
It’s in our nature to be in nature, and with all the trails available in our backyards, hiking is one of the most convenient—and best—ways to do that. The National Park Service describes numerous physical benefits of hiking, including building stronger muscles and bones, decreasing the risk of certain respiratory problems and improving sense of balance and heart health.
It’s as healthy for our bodies as it is our minds too. A study by Stanford University found that spending quality time outdoors reduces stress, calms anxiety and can lead to a lower risk of depression.
Another benefit of hiking is its ability to strengthen relationships among friends and family, as it’s an activity that anyone and everyone can enjoy. There’s a large number of trails with varying levels of difficulty, but many are perfect for all ages. Hitting the trails with a partner or a group can strengthen bonds, as it provides uninterrupted opportunities to chat and help each other if and when an obstacle presents itself. You might even make a new friend or two along the way.
At its core, hiking offers us peace and solace from an otherwise chaotic world of noise, technology and work. It’s a beautiful way to connect with the earth and those closest to you.
Ready to head out for a hike? Grab your boots, snacks and buddy—your Trail Buddy, that is!
This Fairfax County mobile-friendly map gives you information on paved and unpaved trails to make your hiking life easier.
View a full screen (mobile-friendly) version of Fairfax Trail Buddy.
Want to diversify your trails experience this summer? The Fairfax County park system has trails that exceed expectations. These gems are the perfect ways to add even more excitement to your group hikes or biking adventures.
These trails offer a unique spin on the recreational idea and combine it with a nature observer’s paradise. This park consists of boardwalks, totaling 2 miles. The trail leading up to the observation platform is 0.6 miles, and once there, you can simultaneously catch your breath and revel in the scenic wetlands. Be on the lookout for birds, especially. Huntley Meadows is home to diverse wildlife, including herons, egrets, deer, beavers and more.
Pump tracks are small, looping bicycle trail systems that riders navigate by pumping with their arms and legs, rather than pedaling.
Want to elevate your biking experience? You don’t want to miss the hidden gem of Brookfield Park, which boasts a pump track in Springfield, Virginia. Tucked behind the picnic pavilion and basketball courts, this remarkable trail is perfect for bicyclists of all ages. For more information on this, as well as other bike trails, visit the link below.
Each New Year’s Day, the Fairfax County Park Authority joins America’s state parks and Virginia state parks for First Day Hike programs to get you outside and on the trail. This year thousands of people rang in the New Year throughout the country by taking hikes, and nearly 200 of them submitted photos for the 2022 First Hike Fairfax photo contest. You can check out all First Hike Fairfax 2022 photos below.
12000 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035