A Tale of Two Parks: Bon Air and Glencarlyn

I recently wrote lovingly about Bluemont Park, but Arlington County manages a number of other perfectly lovely, well-designed parks. Today I’ll focus on Bon Air Park and Glencaryln Park, both adjacent to Bluemont. Both are located off the  WO&D Trail and Four Mile Run Trail, Bon Air to the west and Glencarlyn to the east of Bluemont. I spend most of my lunch breaks walking between Glencarlyn and Bon Air and no matter what kind of mood I start out in, I’m always in a much better place at the end of my walk. There’s just something about being outdoors surrounded by nature, bike trails and people that makes me happy. But be aware you may run into a snake.

The rose garden at Bon Air Park.

The rose garden at Bon Air Park.

Bon Air Park (850 North Lexington Street, Arlington, VA 22205) has a similar feel to Bluemont but is a bit smaller at 23.5 acres. I like Bluemont and Bon Air because they are multi-use parks; people come here to take part in a number of activities making them excellent meeting places for a diverse variety of community members. There is a lovely rose garden as well as several ornamental gardens that are a great educational tool for kids, soccer teams made up of mostly Central American immigrants, families grilling out on weeknights, plenty of bikers, walkers, joggers and rollerbladers and, best of all, dozens of picnickers of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the nice weather. Bon Air is situated in a nice residential neighborhood and although it feels more secluded than Bluemont there are plenty of neighborhood access trails. Park facilities include: Picnic shelter, playground, tennis courts, basketball court, volleyball, ornamental/rose garden and a soccer field.

Four Mile Run at Glencarlyn Park.

Four Mile Run at Glencarlyn Park.

Glencarlyn Park 2

Glencarlyn Park (301 S. Harrison Street, Arlington, VA 22204) is a different kind of park. While Bluemont and Bon Air are community parks in the true sense of the word (easily accessible to the community, a meeting place for sports teams, social sports, picnic tables, grills, walking/biking trails) Glencarlyn feels more like a nature park. Even though it is nearly as accessible to the surrounding community, the park feels like an oasis of green within a residential neighborhood and is heavily wooded and home to a picturesque and peaceful portion of Four Mile Run. The park is quiet with a very zen vibe; there are wooded, dirt trails, a large picnic shelter, a playground and one of the nicest dog parks I’ve seen, where community members can take their dogs for a splash in the creek. Keep in mind this dog park isn’t fenced in so if your dog has a tendency to wander off, you may want to try another dog park. This spot has a very peaceful, regal, elegant feel and is a good chose if you’re looking for a quiet park. Park facilities include: Picnic shelter, playground, a lovely dog park and amphitheater



Categories: DC Area Hiking, DC Area Outdoors Activities, Outdoors, Parks, Parks, Suburbs, The Urban Anthropologist Files, Virginia

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