Friends of the W&OD Trail


Personal Safety

The W&OD is a multi-use trail. Please use common sense and courtesy when using the trail. 

Here are some rules and regulations to make the W&OD a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone:

  • Wear a helmet. All of the jurisdictions the W&OD passes through require helmets for cyclists and electric scooter operators under the age of 15. As a matter of good sense, we strongly suggest all cyclists should use helmets.
  • E-bikes and other e-conveyances are permitted on the W&OD. For the specific rules governing them, please look here.
  • The direction of travel for pedestrians on the trail is the same as for others. Walk with traffic.
  • For your safety and others’, please be alert. Minimize the use of listening devices in both ears (other than medical hearing aids) that could prevent you from hearing an approaching runner, walker, or person on a bicycle or e-device.
  • No carbon-based engine motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail except for authorized service vehicles.
  • For the protection of your animal as well as others, pets must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. You are also responsible for your pet’s waste. The Friends of the W&OD provide free mutt-mitts for this reason. Please pick the waste up, and do not leave plastic bags of pet waste at the side of the trail.
  • Please place all trash in receptacles.
  • The trail is open from 5:00am to 9:00pm from Shirlington in Arlington County to the western town limit of Herndon in Fairfax County at Crestview. West of Herndon, the trail is only open during daylight hours.

Trail Etiquette

  • If you are on a bike, SLOW DOWN.
  • Travel in the right lane only with the flow of traffic, and pass on the left.
  • Give an audible warning when passing.
  • Move off the trail when stopped.
  • Unless otherwise posted, pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Equestrians have the right of way over any other trail traffic.
  • Whatever mode you’re using, use only one earbud – keep your other ear attuned to your surroundings.
  • Racing and competitive speed training are not allowed for any mode except for events sanctioned by NOVA Parks. For a permit application click link here
  • If the trail is busy, users should travel in single file allowing adequate space for passing safely.
  • Be alert for steep embankments where the roadbed has been built up.
  • Keep off of private property bordering the trail.
  • For your safety, use the trail with a partner.
  • Please report all hazardous conditions to the trail office (703-729-0596, or by email to Emergencies and suspicious activities should be reported to the police immediately.

Additional Safety Information Links

Sharing Space With Horses:

As always in life, the best “rule” for users on the W&OD is to treat others as you wish to be treated. Be kind, courteous, and patient.

Mileage and Location Markers

Starting from the southeastern terminus in Shirlington, mileage markers have been placed every half-mile along the W&OD Trail. Arlington County has placed an additional set of numbered and color-coded markers every 1/4 mile along the W&OD Trail and the connecting trails in Arlington. Please refer to these markers when reporting to the office on trail conditions, etc., and also when reporting (promptly) to the police any suspicious activity or emergency that you may happen upon.


Please assist the W&OD Park Management in its effort to control vandalism by promptly either emailing or calling the office at 703-729-0596 if you see any graffiti spray-painted on the trail, bridge abutments, retaining walls, or electrical towers. The park staff itself will remove or cover most graffiti. If an electrical tower has been defaced, we will pass along the information to Dominion Energy. Be as specific as possible about the location, including the town, nearest mileage marker, nearby streets and, in the case of the power poles, the number on the metal plate attached to the tower. Also, tell us whether it is a round or a steel beam tower. Please get a photo, if possible. If you observe active vandalism, call 911.

Studies have shown that a location from which graffiti is quickly removed is much less likely to attract additional defacement.