Del Ray Parks and Rec: Mount Jefferson Greenway
When I told a friend I was going to walk the Mount Jefferson Greenway this past weekend, she asked, “What’s the Greenway?” If you’re into Del Ray history or you live near the Greenway, you’re probably very familiar with it. But for those who have never heard of it, the Greenway is a long thin plot of land about 1/2 mile in length on the east side of Del Ray, tracing the former route of the Bluemont Line of the defunct W&OD Railroad.
There’s essentially two sides of the Greenway. On the north side, there’s a park with benches, a playground for kids and a paved path favored by joggers and dog walkers. We started our walk on this side where you enter the Greenway at Commonwealth Avenue between Manning and Ashby Street.
The park crosses Clifford and Hume Avenues before it opens to benches and a playground.
There’s a marker at Raymond Avenue telling the history of the Bluemont Line — it carried goods, mail and passengers from Alexandria to western parts of Virginia and Washington, D.C. until it was abandoned in the late 1960s.
From here, the other side of the Greenway begins. This side is more primitive and secluded, the quiet grassy pathway reveals ivy-covered trees and a native plant and wildlife area.
Though wild and free, signs remind you that you are still in a city park.
The Greenway provides a buffer between the homes along Randolph Avenue and the industrial Oakville Triangle area on Jefferson Davis Highway. On one side, classic farmhouses, serene sunflower gardens and neighborly banter; on the other, graffiti, broken warehouse windows and the hum of mechanical repair.
The trail ends with a steep hill and a nondescript chain-link gate at the intersection of Jefferson Davis Highway and Custis Avenue next to the Del Ray Animal Hospital.
If you haven’t walked the Mount Jefferson Greenway, put it on your to-do list this summer. Bring a friend and enjoy its wild and historic wonders.