The Potomac Heritage Trail, also known as the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail or the PHT, is a designated National Scenic Trail corridor spanning parts of the mid-Atlantic and upper southeastern regions of the United States that will connect various trails and historic sites in the states of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The trail network includes 830 miles (1,340 km) of existing and planned sections, tracing the outstanding natural, historical, and cultural features of the Potomac River corridor, the upper Ohio Riverwatershed in Pennsylvania and western Maryland, and a portion of the Rappahannock River watershed in Virginia.
Unlike many long-distance hiking trails such as the Appalachian Trail, the Potomac Heritage Trail is a general route with numerous side trails and alternatives, some in parallel on each side of the river. Currently, many of these are separate, connected to the others only by roads. Potomac Heritage Trail: A Hiker's Guide is a guidebook addressing the PHT's various sections, and some intervening or adjacent areas. The guidebook The C&O Companion is useful for this major section of the PHT. Also, Potomac Heritage Explorer (collected by an informal network of Trail advocates) suggests some ways to experience the PHT corridor.
two partially completed routes within the District of Columbia – the 23-mile (37 km) Fort Circle Parks Trail, part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington, and a multi-use route between Georgetown and Oxon Cove Park, including areas along the Anacostia River.
The Potomac Heritage Trail Association (PHTA) is a membership-based organization dedicated to the development, construction, preservation, and interpretation of the trail.
The group, in cooperation with other trail advocacy groups, sponsors work trips to construct and maintain natural surface portions of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. These organizations include the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club; the Sierra Club's Potomac Regional Outings Program; REI, Inc.; Great Falls Trail Blazers; the Appalachian Mountain Club; Fairfax Trails and Streams; Southern Prince George's Trails Coalition; and the Oxon Hill Bicycle Club.
The PHTA publishes a quarterly newsletter, the Potomac Heritage Trail News, featuring progress and challenges in building the trail.
The group works with local, state and federal government officials and park authorities to promote and develop new sections of trail along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail corridor.