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Walking Tour of Monuments and Memorials

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West Potomac Park

Walking Tour of Monuments and Memorials is a 5.6 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Washington, District of Columbia that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and road biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 5.6 mi Elevation gain 101 ft Route type Point to Point
Dogs on leash Wheelchair friendly Kid friendly Road biking Walking Paved River Views City walk Historic site
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Getting There

A scenic walk from the White House, along the National Mall, around the Tidal Basin to the Capitol This is a great way to see all of the Monuments and Memorials of Washington DC, each unique and important in its own way. The walk starts at the White House and continues through the National Mall, along the Reflecting Pool, around the Tidal Basin, and eventually ends at the US Capitol Building and Supreme Court. This tour will take you through many significant eras in the history of the United States, including the Revolutionary War, Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II, past several memories to inspiring presidents such as Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Jefferson, and past all three branches of government. On top of that, it is a scenic walk and quite relaxing depending on the time of year and the weather. After completing this walk, you will have seen most of the tourist destinations in Washington DC (other than the museums that surround the National Mall). Accessibility: There is designated, accessible parking at the Lincoln Memorial on the east side of the circle roadway, in the parking lot off Constitution Avenue on the Washington Monument grounds, and on Madison and Jefferson Drives near the entrance to the Smithsonian. The trail surface is paved, smooth, and typically at least six feet wide. It is mostly flat with an estimated average grade of 2% and a max grade of 6%. Most wheelchair and stroller users will find this trail navigable. There are wheelchair accessible restrooms at Constitution Gardens and the Jefferson Memorial (plus tactile placards) but the restrooms in the Ellipse and in Lafayette Park are not accessible. There are accessible drinking fountains near the Sylvan Theatre, in Constitution Gardens by the lake, and on the south side of the pool at the Forklife Festival site.

There are multiple water fountains and restroom facilities along the trail.

District of Columbia Convention and Visitors Assoc, P.O. Box 27489, 1212 New York Ave, Suite 600 , Washington, DC, 2005, Phone: 202-789-7000

For a shorter version of the tour you can end at the Washington Monument after looping around the Tidal Basin rather than walking down the entire length of the National Mall towards to Capitol Building.

Directions from U.S. Capitol: The walk begins on the east end of the National Mall at Capitol Hill which lies between Constitution Avenue and Independence Avenue. Union Station is a block away. Also, the DC subway, called The Metro, has a blue or orange line that stops at Capitol South.

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Reviews (173)
Photos (1027)
Recordings (122)
Completed (891)
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Jared Kreft
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Jeffery Thommen
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Lauren Pickens
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Hiking

Great for anyone wanting to get to know DC and get some exercise in. Don’t worry - it’s not entirely city blocks. You’re surround by nature for much of it.

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Andrea Cagle
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Hiking

Washington is such a wonderful place. I love all of the massive government buildings.

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Dimone Long
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Hiking

Very nice trail to tour the memorials.

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Douglas Sears
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Hiking

on bicycle, or foot, is the best way to enjoy the DC area and monuments.

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Denny Newborn
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it is a nice route with all the major attractions. There was a bathroom near Franklin Roosevelt statutes. very little street traffic. Flat urban hike. lots of tourists.

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Alyssa Bormann
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Jean-Claude Linossi
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Hiking

Magnificent walk through many beautiful and historic sites.

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Caitlin Scanlon
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WalkingNo shade

It’s one of those things you have to do at some point - and I recommend doing it either early or late to avoid as many tourists as possible. Keep in mind, if you’re visiting in summer, it is HOT and HUMID and there’s not a ton of shade when you’re out in the middle of the Mall. It’s also a much longer walk than it looks like it is on the map (at least, it can feel that way). If you want to do the whole walk in one go, the Smithsonian museums afford a break from the heat, opportunities to use the restroom, and places to grab a quick bite and drink (and, you know, culture and interesting exhibits but I’m focusing on the walk). The larger monuments like the Lincoln, Jefferson, and FDR also have small exhibit spaces, gift shops, and bathrooms but can sometimes be hard for tourists to find - generally look for alcoves and old copper doors. They’re usually unassuming off-season and are closed but as far as I know are open late (I see joggers stop for a quick bathroom break in them after dark frequently). Easily the highlights of this walk are the memorials around the Tidal Basin, which is a beautiful place to be - especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, of course! EDIT: Oh, I didn’t even realize the trail went all the way to the Capitol! Also has a visitors center if you need to use the restroom (and a cafeteria - no, not the cafeteria your representatives eat in, unfortunately, unless you’re a very special guest, heh). Not worth the lines and security unless you’re going to enjoy a tour - and see if you can get a House or Senate viewing gallery pass from your representative or senators (you get to pick it up directly from their office and might catch a glimpse of some people you see on the news in the elevator) and even if it’s a slow day (or a slooooooow day) it’s still civically interesting to see your legislature in action... or at least, what congress considers action, haha).

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GT W
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Walking

This is a LONG walk that takes you across the entire national mall. There are several outdoor monuments but also some indoor museums to break up the walk. Recommend that you spend most of the day completing.

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Josh Preputnik
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It's definitely a lot of fun going sight seeing but make sure to print a map of where to go and also have a comfy pair of running shoes to wear.

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Sushanth Mali
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Hiking

On a Christmas eve when pretty much everything is closed and as it’s getting dark I have decided to do this hike. It was beautiful to watch all these Memorials and Monuments exploring by foot. The weather was a bit chilly though. National Christmas Tree is a bonus today. It was closed because of the shutdown but they have to open it today. Definitely recommended hike.

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David Haupt
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Walking

Really not much to say except that it's Washington DC. More of a route to follow rather than an actual trail. Takes you by many of the major sites, monuments, and museums. Must do for anyone wanting a course to follow near and around the major sites that DC offers.

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Emma Southgate
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Hiking

Great walking trip. Coming from someone who does zero exercise usually, it’s a very easy and enjoyable hike. In total it took myself and my parents roughly 5 hours to see everything (including loo breaks and refreshments) over a course of 7 Miles. There was flooding around the Tidal Basin sidewalks so we had to detour slightly further out. But the views are simply stunning. However it was a very humid hot day which did take its toll!

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Vanessa McKnight
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Definately worth the trip, I would have preferred running in the evening or early morning. The area was very crowded with tourists, wish there hadn't been protestors at the white house but some people don't care if they're ruining the experiences of others.

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Lacey Jones
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DC is gorgeous in the fall. Summer is hot. Spring is crowded.

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Elizabeth Jackson
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The best hike to see all the Memorials and White House. Very easy, gets rather crowded at times. If you go during summer bring water and keep children/pets hydrated. Take your time, it's an enjoyable way to visit our Nation's History.

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DJ Goodman
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Hiking

This is a wonderful area to walk around and see all the memorials and history. I did this walk with my father when I was a youngster; however, the views did not get old the second time around, even in the 95 degree heat. After this visit, we drove to Shenandoah National Park located approximately 1 1/2 hours away! Although drastically different, both are well worth your time.

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Amanda Devi
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Walking

Awesome views & scenery; photo ops as well!

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Cathy Young
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Walked this today. Great hike to beautiful and moving memorial. My favorite were the memorials around the basin.

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Zaid Fadul
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Walking

While this is a hot and very humid hike in the summer, it is an awesome and rewarding walk touching on our nation's history. Well worth the time for anyone wanting to see what DC has to offer.

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Nicholas DiLauro
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Nice hike, you get to see all of the historical buildings and monuments throughout Washington DC. just make sure not to go on a super hot day like I did lol

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Leann Heath
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Walking

Nice urban hike. We went during a rainy day with heavy fog which created deep and wide puddles. The area around the walkways was really muddy. We were not wearing the right shoes for it. Nevertheless, beautiful views of the monuments. Easy walk.

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Jacob Gearhart
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Good tour

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Enjoli McIntosh
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Great views absolutely beautiful. Lots of traffic and touristy but worth it.

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Cyndi Smith
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It's always a pleasure to walk the mall

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Seth Bean
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Walking

Went to D.C. For vacation, this was the highlight of my trip. The monuments are fantastic, it's amazing to be up close to our national history. Everything is in walking distance which is great. Only downside is the tourist, far too many people, especially if your trying to get a decent photo. Little bit of advice, go at night, less people and the lighting on the monuments look much better.

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June Orleander
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Walking

A definite must do. Very interesting.

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JTM Bartels
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Walking

Always a great stroll especially during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

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