The George Washington Memorial Parkway is a carefully planned scenic route to the nation's capital. From the north it curves alongside the Potomac Gorge, highlighting its steep cliffs and rich woods. From the south it is a broad avenue punctuated with monuments to America's history. Overlooks and picnic areas dot its length, providing places to rest and admire the land it passes through. There is no visitor center on the parkway itself. Information, brochures, maps, and National Park Passport stamps are available at parkway headquarters and at visitor centers at Arlington House, Glen Echo Park, and Great Falls Park. Hours vary by season.
After completing the C&O Canal trail we connected with this trail to loop around the city to the airport where we had left a car. The views of the city were beautiful and it was good to see all the green space away from the usual touristy stuff around the national mall. As the uploaded photos show you can still get a good view of the city from this route except you do not have to deal with all the crazyness that riding a bike in town.
If you don't mind crowds or are from out of town (meaning the views of DC buildings are new to you) this might be a 5 star trail for you. But it is crowded it's entire length, extremely so from Downtown Alexandria to Roosevelt Island, especially near National Airport. Gravelly point is a fun place to sit on a sunny day, watch planes take off and land and all the other people doing the same thing. I avoid this trail unless I have to take it to get somewhere because of the crowds.
Took this trail from the Roosevelt Island parking area to Mount Vernon on road bikes. Was about 36 miles round trip. We came on a beautiful Sunday during peak cherry blossom season. The trail was absolutely packed with other cyclists, runners and walkers. Was difficult on a bike having to slow down and pass others very frequently, but the beautiful views make it worth it. You are mostly along the Potomac river which gives great views of the monuments in DC. The trail goes through Alexandria, VA where you are on the road in traffic for a little while. Be sure to pay attention for signs for the trail because they are small and we missed a couple turns and turned around a couple times. Trail is well maintained the entire way. Very enjoyable trip but definitely need a lot more time to cover the miles when it's so crowded.
Great trail most of the way, however the part of the trial through Alexandria city tend to be crowded with pedestrians and parked cars. I did not enjoy my ride through Alexandria city so I just walked and enjoyed all the summer street festivals. I will do this trail again when I have the time.