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.

  1. (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.
  2. (West) The trail narrows but remains in good condition.
    (East) The trail widens as it approaches the parking area.
  3. (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.
  4. (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 2006.
  5. (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.
  6. (West and East) The trail climbs up a hill and passes near a house.
  7. (West and East) The trail passes close to Mill Creek Landing. Notice the barn and the large house on the other side of Difficult Run.
  8. (West) The horse trail splits off to the right. The Cross County Trail goes to the left to stay out of a potentially muddy area.
    (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.
  9. (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.

Next - Pictorial Directions

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