Pimmit Run is a beautiful 7.8-mile-long stream that runs from Fairfax County to the Potomac River at Chain Bridge in Arlington, in northern Virginia through McLean. Pimmit Run forms south of Leesburg Pike in Idylwood, Virginia and flows underground until it crosses the pike; from there it flows openly above ground past Pimmit Hills. From Pimmit Hills, the stream flows northeast through Pimmit Run Stream Valley Park and nearby neighborhoods. The stream is then joined by Little Pimmit Run at Westmont before paralleling the George Washington Memorial Parkway and flowing southeast into Arlington.
Pimmit Run was named in honor of John Pimmit who was an overseer for William Fitzhugh in 1675. John Pimmit was a naturalized citizen in 1679 but died by drowning in the Potomac River in February of 1688, near the mouth of the stream now named after him. Pimmit was survived by his three children: Margaret, John, and William.
Pimmit Run has also been known by other names such as Pimmet’s Run, Catfish Run, and Upper Spout Run. The stream also has six tributaries which are Bridge Branch, Burke’s Spring Branch, Saucy Branch, Bryan Branch, Little Pimmit Run, and Stromans Branch.
The Pimmit Run Trail follows much of the 7.8-mile stream from the heart of Fairfax County to the Potomac River. The trail is segmented into three different parts, however, due to some private properties in McLean, Virginia. The easternmost part of the trail runs from Solitaire Lane in McLean to Fort Marcy Park and overlooks the Potomac. The middle section of the trail covers the length of Potomac Hills Park and is the shortest of the three trail segments. The westernmost section is the longest and extends for four miles without significant interruptions. This last section runs from Bryan Branch Road in McLean to Olney Park in Pimmit Hills.
The Pimmit Run Trail was originally created by a multi-use trail volunteer group called Fairfax Trails and Streams. While the trail is split up into sections, the FCPA makes it very easy to follow the path by providing signposts and maps at each road crossing when traveling from west to east.
The segment of Pimmit Run Trail that runs from Bryan Branch Road in McLean to Olney Park has several nice creek crossings and diverse terrain. This part of the trail is divided into five subsections which are separated by road crossings in a predominately suburban setting. The hike starts in subsection one by traversing Bryan Branch, one of the streams that connects to Pimmit Run. The trail cuts north through a forest and reaches the Pimmit Run stream after just a few minutes of walking. At this point in the trail, the Pimmit Run stream is still a bit deep, with one bend boasting a depth of around 3-4 feet back in January of 2016.
The second subsection takes you over a boggy section of the Pimmit Run floodplain. In the third subsection of Pimmit Run Trail, you’ll enter Kent Gardens Park which is a serene and peaceful field in the heart of McLean. After that, you will reach Westmoreland Street and cross over into a bamboo grove that crosses Pimmit Run before reaching the end of this trail segment at Olney Park.
More about McLean Virgina