The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Off-Leash Dog Area is an unfenced dog park maintained by the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities. Sometimes referred to as the skinniest park in Virginia, W&OD Railroad spans 45 miles of the rail trail, generally used for cycling, skating, running, and even horseback riding along the nearby 32-mile gravel horse trail.
The W&OD Railroad Off-Leash Dog Area features many access points with parking, along with additional mileage markers placed every half-mile along the trail. Its name derives from the railroad which used to cross the property from 1859 until 1968, in an attempt to bring coal and other riches from the Appalachians to the Port of Alexandria.
After the Civil War, the railroad began a series of reconstruction efforts, opening its first segment in the Falls Church area in 1974. Today, the designated off-leash dog area found within the park perimeter is marked with bollards, although owners need to be careful about supervising their pets, as the sector is unfenced.
The large trees found within the designated area provide shade during the summer months, while the ground is full of grass and leaves. It is a great place to take your dog out for a game of fetch or exercise him on the trail, provided he is on a leash outside the designated area.
Although this is an official off-leash zone, visitors need to make sure their furry companion is well-behaved around other dogs, people and children and is eligible to use the dog park. In other words, your dog needs to have his rabies shots and license up to date.
When you need a nice and relaxing place to jog, hike, run, or exercise your furry best friend off-leash, W&OD Railroad Dog Area is the ideal spot for that and much more.