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Level: Beginner
Length: 10 mi (16.1 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +458/ -426 ft
Total: 109 riders

Mountain Biking Difficult Run

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#27 of 300 mountain bike trails in Virginia
#832 in the world

Don't let the title "Difficult Run" fool you--it's named after the stream it parallels, not its level of difficulty. There's nothing technical to speak of here--unless you like the technical nature of erosion, washouts, mud bogs and consistent hoof damage. The mud bogs remain even long after any rain. The trail sees no maintenance, so the ravages of the traffic and weather go unchecked. The trail's not all like that--the western portions are better than the eastern portions. If the whole length was as good as the western end, I could give it three stars, but the east end barely rates one star. There are better trails in the area.

First added by John Fisch on Nov 26, 2008. Last updated May 3, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
The Difficult Run trail actually runs through a large chunk of Northern Virginia suburbia. There are numerous access points as it crosses many roads. The easiest access point is the trail's eastern origin in Great Falls National Park. If you don't want to pay the park fee, you can park at the Difficult Run Stream Valley Park parking area on route 193 a little south of the park entrance. Riding south will soon deliver you into the park, where only the doubletrack is open to bikes. Riding north will take you into the length of the trail.
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Difficult Run Trail map

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Local Info

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philrohrer (on Feb 4, 2023)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Jun 24, 2021)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Fairfax County, Virginia

Beginner | 6 mi
| 6.5 mi
Intermediate | 1 mi
Intermediate | 7 mi

Rider questions

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  • Scott_Primrose

    Nice ride from Lake Fairfax to Great Falls.

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  • jaydubbz33

    Trail has improved over the years, climbs, rocky downhill, technical areas, and some nice jumps

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  • rybolov   ✓ supporter

    I've biked through the creek before as long as it's the summer and the water is low. Just get some speed into it because the rocks on the creek bottom are slimy and you don't have a lot of traction.

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  • rybolov   ✓ supporter

    Boggy in some spots. A couple creek crossings. Not overly hard except for the climb at the end into Great Falls Park. You can join this with Colvin Run for a good mix of trail.

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  • Siethon1

    Yeah I tried to ride over the rock bridge, I FAILED, but I tried. I just tried to go as fast as possible and did some hops over some of the gaps between the rock.

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  • jtorlando25

    Ridden here a handful of times and always enjoyed it. It's more of a family ride than anything...definitely not hardcore singletrack. The trail is like a hybrid xc trail/walking trail. Wide in parts with rocks and stream crossings, legit singletrack in some parts. BEAUTIFUL scenery if you ride all the way to Great Falls.

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  • Trailburger

    I started on this trail and return to it every so often for a good early weekend morning work out. It has its share of narrow passes, average climbs and down hills, and a couple of water crossings (if you take it all the way to Great Falls). In the morning, you run the risk of surprising dog-walkers, but the trail really begins to get crowded as the day wears on.* Review edited 6/6/2011

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  • RappAttack

    very nice endurance trail not to crazy technical, MTB virginia guide book says to start in Reston i however started around great falls off GT pike and went out and back very cool and it connects with some single track in the park

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  • ExtremeMTBdude

    this is a good trail for people who r getting in to mountain bikind. But it is also not strait and that easy. There are some steep hills and some high creek crossings. I love it though!

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