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Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

Potomac Heritage Trail
Length 830 mi (1336 km)
Location Virginia / Maryland / Pennsylvania / District of Columbia
Designation National Scenic Trail
Use Bicycling, Hiking
Hiking details
Season Year-round
Surface Gravel, Asphalt, and Natural Surfaces

The Potomac Heritage Trail, also known as the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail or the PHT, is a designated National Scenic Trail corridor spanning parts of the mid-Atlantic and upper southeastern regions of the United States that will connect various trails and historic sites in the states of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The trail network includes 830 miles (1,340 km) of existing and planned sections, tracing the outstanding natural, historical, and cultural features of the Potomac River corridor, the upper Ohio River watershed in Pennsylvania and western Maryland, and a portion of the Rappahannock River watershed in Virginia.

Unlike many long-distance (collected by an informal network of Trail advocates) suggests some ways to experience the PHT corridor.

The PHT crosses another National Scenic Trail, the Appalachian Trail, near Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. The PHT also coincides with the American Discovery Trail along the portion of the C&O Canal Towpath from Oldtown, Maryland to Washington, D.C.

Initial sections

Three substantial sections of the trail were in existence when the Potomac Heritage Trail officially became a National Scenic Trail in 1983:

These trails have different surfaces: gravel, asphalt, and natural surface, respectively – a fact that illustrates the general heterogeneity of the PHT, compared to other National Scenic Trails.

Completed and planned sections

The entire Potomac Heritage Trail consists of the following sections:

Potomac Heritage Trail Association

The Potomac Heritage Trail Association (PHTA) is a membership-based organization dedicated to the development, construction, preservation, and interpretation of the trail.

The group, in cooperation with other trail advocacy groups, sponsors work trips to construct and maintain natural surface portions of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. These organizations include the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club; the Sierra Club's Potomac Regional Outings Program; REI, Inc.; Great Falls Trail Blazers; the Appalachian Mountain Club; Fairfax Trails and Streams; Southern Prince George's Trails Coalition; and the Oxon Hill Bicycle Club.

The PHTA publishes a quarterly newsletter, the Potomac Heritage Trail News, featuring progress and challenges in building the trail.

The group works with local, state and federal government officials and park authorities to promote and develop new sections of trail along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail corridor.


External links


  • Potomac Heritage Trail
  • National Park Service site
  • Potomac Heritage Trail Association
  • C&O Canal Association
  • Allegheny Trail Alliance
  • Oxon Hill Bicycle and Trail Club
  • Southern Prince George's Trail Coalition
  • Great Falls Trail Blazers
  • Fairfax Trails and Streams
  • Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
  • Friends of Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail, King George Co, Virginia
  • Accokeek Foundation

Trails/Parks of PHNST

  • Great Allegheny Passage
  • C&O Canal Bicycling Guide
  • Mt. Vernon Trail, Arlington/Alexandria/Mt Vernon, VA
  • Great Falls Park, MD/VA
  • Riverbend Park, Great Falls, VA
  • Algonkian Park, VA
  • Red Rock Wilderness Regional Park, VA
  • Balls Bluff Regional Park, VA
  • Occoquan Regional Park, VA
  • Laurel Hill Greenway, Lorton, VA
  • Prince William Forest Park, VA
  • Leesylvania State Park, VA
  • Piscataway Park/Trail, MD
  • Fort Foote Park, MD

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