Four Mile Run: Barcroft to Glencarlyn

Last Sunday wewent for a walk along Virginia’s Four Mile Run. The stream, which takes its name from a misreading of the label “Flour Mill” on an old map, runs parallel to the trace of the old Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) railroad, and the trails that follow the stream and the railroad trace enable a nice walk through Arlington County.

Starting from Barcroft Park, we followed the W&OD Trail upstream past Arlington Mill, the site of the first skirmish of the American Civil War. Ater a brief stop at Carlin Springs in Glencarlyn Park, we explored the historic sites to the west, once the property of the Ball and Carlin families. Walk back south and east, we returned to Four Mile Run along the banks of Long Branch, one of its tributaries, through Washington’s forest. While we took a break to examine the old stone column from George Washington’s 1785 survey of the property, those who brought their dogs let them run free for a bit in nearby Glencarlyn Dog Park. Regrouping, we walked back to Barcroft Park along Four Mile Run Trail.

Altogether, a walk of about 5 and a half miles and exactly two hours, through an enjoyable mix of historic landmarks and wooded streambeds. A Google map of the route we followed and points of interest along the way is posted here.

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