Wednesday, April 27, 2016

You've Been Over the American Legion Bridge. But have you been under it?

Yesterday's hiking challenge was sort of the opposite of two days ago. Instead of having an unmarked trail on Google maps, I had a stretch of trail that was missing from Google Maps but thought might in fact be there. See, check this section of the Potomac Heritage Trail (PHT) out:

As I've crudely circled in blue pen, the PHT stops at Turkey Run Park and picks up again under the American Legion Bridge. What's in between?

Well, after hiking that section of trail, I can confidently report: a wonderful stretch of the PHT. As is typical for the PHT, sometimes it closely hugs the river, other times it winds inward toward the forest. Most the trail is flat and there are only minor obstacles to work around, that's a pretty key difference from the section near Windy Run, which requires a bit of rock scrambling. Depending on your audience, this may be a good thing, or not so much. Unlike other sections of the PHT, there are no signs of houses or roads. That is, until you reach the American Legion Bridge, which to my surprise, you simply walk under. I guess I assumed that because this was a major piece of DC infrastructure (it's one of two bridges that allows the beltway to cross the Potomac) it might be off limits. But no, it's completely accessible.

After the bridge, the trail continues, with an an access point to Live Oak Drive. It does however continue as a trail, paralleling 495. That is, until the trail simply peters out. See:

Perhaps one day the trail will continue? My guess is that the goal would be to connect up the PHT to Scott's Run. Perhaps you can bushwhack your way there? That's another project, for another day.

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