This walk will take you along Difficult Run between the
Difficult Run parking lot on Georgetown Pike and Leigh Mill Road. The Difficult
Run parking lot is small and fills up quickly on weekends. As an alternate you
can start from Leigh Mill Road at Difficult Run. Limited parking is available
on the shoulder of the road there.
This is not a loop walk so the mileage has been doubled
to reflect the need to return to the starting point. The directions have been
written to cover traveling in either direction on the trail and the pictures
are shown in both directions.
- (West) The trail starts from the western end of
the Difficult Run parking area. There is an exhibit with a map at the start
of the trail. The trail is wide and Difficult Run should be on your left.
(East) The trail ends at the parking area. Continue to the Difficult
Run trail on the other side of the parking area if you wish to continue through
Great Falls Park to the Potomac River. See the section "Great Falls Park
Difficult Run Trail" for directions on this section of the walk. Otherwise,
retrace your steps back to Leigh Mill Road.
- (West) The trail narrows but remains in good condition.
(East) The trail widens as it approaches the parking area.
- (West) The trail crosses a short bridge over a
ditch. The trail no longer follows Georgetown Pike from this point on.
(East) The trail crosses a short bridge over a ditch. The trail joins
Georgetown Pike on the left as it heads towards a parking area.
- (West and East) The trail goes under Old Dominion
Drive. West of Old Dominion Drive Difficult Run temporarily overflowed its
banks following unusually heavy rains washing out the original trail surface.
The washed out section was rocky but dry and passable when walked in December
- (West and East) The trail turns left to cross
a series of boulders across Difficult Run. The boulders are wide, reasonably
flat, and spaced fairly close together making this a fairly comfortable crossing
for older hikers. The crossing is not suitable for strollers, wheelchairs,
or people with a poor sense of balance. Turn right to follow the stream on
the other side after making the crossing.
- (West and East) The trail climbs up a hill and
passes near a house.
- (West and East) The trail passes close to Mill
Creek Landing. Notice the barn and the large house on the other side of Difficult
- (West) The horse trail splits off to the right.
The Cross County Trail goes to the left to stay out of a potentially muddy
(East) The Cross County Trail and the horse trail join together here
as they cross over a stream running under the trail in a pipe.
- (West) The Cross County Trail intersects with
Leigh Mill Road at a crosswalk. To continue cross to the other side of that
road and turn slightly left to follow the edge of the meadow. See the section
marked "Colvin Run Rd. to Leigh Mill Rd." for directions on the
next section of trail. Otherwise, retrace your steps back to the Difficult
Run Parking lot.
(East) The walk starts at the crosswalk on Leigh Mill Road a few feet
north of Kelso Rd. The trail heads into the woods on a gravel surface for
a short distance. Do not mistake the horse trail that is closer to the highway
bridge over Difficult Run. If you do make a mistake the 2 trails come together
after a short distance but the horse trail may be muddier.