We love hiking and taking in a good nature walk, so we’ve laid out some of our favorites in this list
Did you know there are over 117 trails covering 4596 miles in Washington D.C.! That’s a lot of walking. And while we don’t expect you to traverse all of it (or do we?), we have put together a list of our favorites in and around the area to encourage you to give them a try. Without further ado, our favorite trails of D.C.!
- Rock Creek Park; The oldest urban national park in America, established in 1890, Rock Creek Park is ideal for anyone that wants to take a hike without leaving the city. With over 32 miles of hiking and cycling trails along with a Nature Center, a planetarium, and picnic areas, there’s something for the whole family. Plus, it’s right next to the National Zoo!
- Metropolitan Branch Trail: Following the Metropolitan Branch rail line, this scenic and convenient trail can be accessed from four active rail lines. Vibrant murals, art galleries, studios, eateries, and shopping can all be found alongside the trail.
- Teddy Roosevelt Island: Right off the Mount Vernon trail, the 88-acre island is strictly for enjoying a walk in the great outdoors. No bikes, no cars. It’s a great way to escape the city and enjoy nature. The hiking trails are easy and great for all ages.
- Anacostia River Trail: With gorgeous views of the East Side of D.C., this burgeoning trail will eventually boast a length of 20 miles, covering both sides of the Anacostia River. There are tons of places along the trail as well, like community centers, playgrounds, a roller-skating pavilion and sports fields.
- Great Falls: Only a 20-30 minute drive North will take you to two wonderful national parks filled with potential activity. There are a total of 15 miles worth of trails, ranging from easy to difficult. The most popular is the Billy Goat Trail, located in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park.
- Capital Crescent Trail: This great trail stretches from Georgetown to Silver Spring, Maryland measuring roughly 11 miles. Capital Crescent Trail is great for hiking or biking, and even connects to Rock Creek Park. Recent efforts have also made it the starting point of the 3700-mile Great American Rail-Trail.
- Shenandoah National Park: Just 75 miles from Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park has over 200,000 acres of protected lands filled with cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, fields of wildflowers, and quiet wooded hollows. With more than 500 miles of hiking trails, it’s an incredible journey waiting to happen.
- Marvin Gaye Trail: Named after the famous musician who was born and raised in D.C., the Marvin Gaye Trail traverses Marvin Gaye Park, which is D.C.’s longest municipal park. Running past two elementary schools and a high school, the trail provides critical safe access to plenty of recreational activities for students, plus restaurants and shopping.
- Sugarloaf Mountain: Just a short distance from the capital, Sugarloaf Mountain is home to a plethora of flora and fauna. While some of the trails surrounding the mountain can be easy to moderate in difficulty, the 1300-foot hike to the summit is well worth the view.
- Patapsco Valley State Park
With over 220 miles of trails, Patapsco Valley State Park is an interesting and beautiful area for hiking. There are tons of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback, and mountain bike trails, as well as picnicking. On top of everything else, there’s potential ghost hunting amongst some of the ruins along the trails.