Explore the most popular birding trails near Washington with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nice hike. Great for a nice morning hike.

Airplanes frequent overhead creating a lot of noise. It’s very slippery and muddy after big rains.
Great for bird watching. Lots of Redwings and mallards.

Teddy Roosevelt Island houses one of the lesser-known monuments and is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life without ever leaving the city. This is an extremely easy, flat, paved path with a few through-trails in-between the major loop. Experienced hikers who are looking for a challenge would find this trail boring, whereas tourists looking for some relief or those looking for a leisurely stroll would love this area. It is fairly deserted during regular business hours, but can get busy on the weekend.

Walked about the Theodore Roosevelt Island bridge entrance, my first time really exploring this area. The bridge over to the Island was closed today as a public safety precaution due to recent flooding in this area. My plan was to run around the island before running Martha Custis, but since I couldn't I just walked about taking pictures.

This is a pretty cool spot, and is also the location where you park for the Martha Custis Trail. The place was already swarming with people on a Sunday at about 10:30, so I advise doing things early, like 5-6 am on weekend visits. I will be returning.

I love going here when the lotus are blooming or even after with the seed pods. I cool!

Great way to respect a president who loved the outdoors! nice and quiet island, hike it to escape the craziness of DC, plus lots of wildlife

So first off, I would recommend doing this hike in reverse. With an easy, scenic start for the first 2 miles on the Virginia side, the next two miles have some intermittent sections of difficulty with some narrow, rugged terrain and rock scrambling/climbing and stream crossings (and waterfall sightings) if the water level is high enough. (FYI - Along this part of the trail the blazes switch between blue and turquoise). At about mile 3.5, you’ll cross the Gulf Branch waterfall, where you’ll start the uphill climb immediately up the right side (markings were a tad difficult to find). There is a steep, rocky incline with some metal handrails put in (for well-needed and greatly appreciated assistance) along the 30-40 foot climb. Then little switchbacks get you the rest of the way up (~150 ft) to GW parkway. You’ll descend under the parkway overpass towards Glebe road and then under the Chain Bridge. Allow ~3 hours for the Virginia side of the hike. Cross the bridge on left side into D.C. and then down the ramp to the tow path on the C&O canal. This section is wide and flat, and full of joggers and people on bikes, and I wouldn’t really consider it a hike, but an easy stroll/cooldown. In about a mile you’ll happen across restrooms, water and a snackbar at Fletcher’s Cove. Which can provide a well needed leg rest before pushing on to finish the loop or ending there (parking lot is large). Should allow at least 2 hours for the DC side of the walk.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great hike right in the downtown DC area. You can combine it with the eastern side to make it a nice loop vice an out and back. Interesting bits of history at signs and markers along the way.

Not well marked at all, with lots of smaller branching trails. Overall, a good trail but poorly marked.

Fairly busy on the tow path. At times shoulder to shoulder with someone. On the trails off of the tow path there is not a soul in sight. I would recommend the mining trail.

Great! Even in the snow!

hiking
4 months ago

Had a good hike, but was frustrated by the poorly marked trail system. Hiked north from the nature center on the western ridge trail, then returned on the valley trail. Many forks in trail with no indication ofwhich trail is which. Blazes and trail markers seemed sparse.

road biking
5 months ago

Biking this trail is great. Very diverse scenery throughout the duration of the ride. A nice mix of elevation changes and flat stretches.

Amazing, peaceful, diverse

walking
7 months ago

I’ve lived in DC for ten years and never knew about quite a bit of this loop. What a wonderful little adventure I had! I walked out my front door and up to the Calvert bridge to start the loop. There are a couple very urban spots where you transition from trail to trail but otherwise it’s naturesque and just lovely. If you know Rock Creek Parkway, a good portion is beside it so you will see and hear some cars, but the more idyllic portions outweigh this. Recommend if you don’t feel like driving out of town to get to a trailhead.

Beautiful day, and the trail is in great shape, though sometimes hard to follow. TRUST YOUR AllTrails app! I didn't the first time and it cost me. Took about 3 hours of walk time, most of that on the Virginia side. Be aware that parking at Roosevelt Island is limited to 2 hours, so you might want to pick a more time-appropriate spot to start. (I wasn't ticketed , however) Coming back I took the Key Bridge instead of the Roosevelt Bridge, which shaved a few miles off. The VA side is moderately challenging, the DC side is quite easy, and even has a new-looking and very clean restroom. :)

hiking
9 months ago

nice trail

trail running
9 months ago

well marked, paved trail with some nice views of D.C. Plenty of options along the trail for detours (e.g. Four Mile Run). Good for running/biking/walkers. Minor elevation changes make this a good trail for beginners. Use regular trainers/sneakers on this route.

Nice running trail from Rosslyn

Nice and flat trail walk. I took my dog. The marsh is pretty

Beautiful Island and memorial

hiking
11 months ago

Nice moderate trail, but very poorly marked. We met several other hikers on our way and no one knew where they were going.

trail running
11 months ago

Nice trail with a fair amount of shade which helps on a summer day when it hits 90!

road biking
11 months ago

great ride with the family

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Great scenic view. Water and open woods. Paths are pretty wide. Folks were really friendly.

Nice trail with a few technical spots. The weeds were starting to grow around the single track portion of the trail but the trail itself was packed and runnable. Few rocks but no hand over foot. Great little scenic trail near the city. Ran it before work.

Load More