Explore the most popular Dog Friendly 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.

walking
1 day ago

Don’t get me wrong, Georgetown is gorgeous and a great place to shop and eat. A little further out and it’s a quiet place full of beautiful old homes, hills, elegant embassies, etc. It’s a nice walk for sure - though I’m embarrassed to say I once just decided to wander around there for a while because I was bored and wanted to get out of the house and got pretty turned around... ended up at the edge of a wooded area on an empty road with no sidewalk that looked like the back of someone’s property. This was before Lyft took off. So keep an eye on your map because wealthy neighborhoods like Georgetown outside the shopping district, Foxhall, etc. usually aren’t catered to people who don’t live there (hence the irritating lack of transit). If you do, you’ll be treated to a very pleasant stroll, especially if you’re into the architecture of residential homes.

The trail has some high and low points. It was not easy to follow. We started by crossing the Francis Scott Key Bridge and walking the north part of the loop on the towpath, Not sure if there was a different path we were supposed to be on, but this seemed right. Very flat and paved, lots of bikes. We crossed the Chain Bridge, which was not at all marked on the towpath but we found a small path to get us there. From that point we were on more of a trail with lots of fun rock scrambles. However, again it was not well marked and we lost our way a couple times. This side it is very poorly maintained and overgrown. We even had to walk along the GW Parkway for a little bit, very strange. At the end there was a sign the path was closed, but never saw a sign indicating that from the other direction. Was and adventure, of sorts. I will not be doing this one again.

road biking
1 month ago

After all the great reviews, I was disappointed in this one for road biking. This trail is in lackluster and rough condition. There are numerous areas where tree roots have buckled the asphalt, and there is one deep depression that would wreak havoc on a road bike tire. I would recommend at least 32 mm wide tires. That puts you in hybrid territory, and one could make the argument a mountain bike would be even better. The trail is one-bike wide in several spots, and there are a few tunnels, bridges and other segments for which one needs to dismount to navigate safely. This is especially true since the trail was heavily trafficked on this Saturday. Compared to trails farther outside the city, pedestrians walk two or three wide here, and some seem to hesitate--or simply refuse--to yield. FYI, parking at the trailhead is about $2.50/hr.--if you can find a space. I guess this is a nice escape for some who live in the city, but it's not worth the trip from elsewhere.

mountain biking
blowdown
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

What a surprise at times you forget how close to DC you are. We started in Georgetown going up Rock Creek. we had the map downloaded and linked to GPS. It helps at times. very good trail.

good.ride

hiking
3 months ago

A beautiful but all too brief trail

hiking
over grown
3 months ago

Urban, overgrown weeds along polluted dried up canal.

hiking
5 months ago

Some parts of the trail are closed and not clear how to take a detour. Also, dogs are unlawfully loose on the trail, so if you're afraid of them I don't recommend this trail.

hiking
muddy
5 months ago

Did this trail the other day and it was fun. Very cool, a stream valley trail type hike. I followed the recommendation of another review to do the trail backwards, I agree with this because the mid to end of the trail you end up in the city and it's nice to get lunch there. Just make sure you are walking on the west side of the 66 (walking with traffic) to get back otherwise you will end up stranded and having to loop back if you walk against the traffic going East. This adds on another 2 miles or so lol. But it was so fun and you get to scramble a bit and see multiple waterfalls. Be careful because you dont see blue marks for a while around the time you end up seriously rock scrambling before hitting the final waterfall (assuming you do the trail in reverse, otherwise this will be your first waterfall. Oh and you might get a little wet, just a little though.

9-22-2018 Beautiful day for a hike. The four of us started out in the parking lot on Canal street(the down the ramp) We crossed the little foot bridge by the bathroom and took a left onto the upper gravel trail deciding the lower paved trail is for road bikes. following this trail for about 3.5 miles we wound up in Georgetown Waterfront Park. We continued along the water front (which was our first mistake) we should have stayed up, so when we got to the bridge we were standing Under it, so had to figure out how to get UP to bridge. When we got to top, we walked across only to figure out we were on the wrong side, so had to do U turn back under and across the parkway. Back on the trail we walked another 7.5 miles along the Potomac through the weeds and over some pretty good rock scrambles. Thank goodness the river wasn't any higher or not sure what we would have done. As is was we had to get wet crossing in a few places. All of our devices said total miles were closer to 11.

Very pretty, but would not advise on bike. Very overgrown in some places, and occasionally narrow and dangerous

This trail was....interesting with two dogs haha. It’s listed as dog-friendly and for most of the hike it totally is! But once you get to the Potomac Heritage Trail portion it gets a little (and by a little I mean a lot lol) confusing. The blue markers totally disappear for the most confusing part (right when it splits off into this incredibly rocky area). I was very doubtful because I thought it was supposed to be a more standard trail, so I was walking in circles retracing my steps trying to find more of those blue markers! But alas, I just trusted my instincts which told me to stay parallel to the river and I eventually saw some more of those beautiful markers. The “rock climbing” aspect of the hike was very unexpected but soooo fun. And luckily my dogs freaking loved it! I thought I’d have to turn around at first because those boulders were tough to manage with the two of them, but we all did it and I’m so glad we did :) by far one of the most interesting and fun hikes I’ve been on. Just be prepared for the rocky section and the occasional lack of trail markers. Trust yourself that you’re going the right way (as long as you’re following the river) and have fun!! Edit: oh also! There’s a part where you’re walking directly parallel to this major highway directly in the hot sun. Just be prepared for this if you have dogs!! We had to take a ton of water breaks on this stretch and I had to make sure I was holding their leashes extra tight and watching them like hawks.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Don’t take your pup. The first part of the trail (clockwise) runs along Rock Creek Parkway. If you’re out for a long run, it’s worth it. If you’re out for a hike you should drop this section. This section is also a dangerous place to have a dog on a leash. The width of the path gets down to two people wide with the busy parkway right next to the trail at points - no one walks here, it’s 100% runners and bicyclists...add a dog on a leash and we’re asking for an accident that could end up with a someone in the road. For the last 5 years I’ve lived near, run down and commuted on this section...I’ve rarely seen people walking and I’ve never seen a dog on this section.

Nice hike. Great for a nice morning hike.

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.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

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.

on Georgetown Loop

walking
Tuesday, January 02, 2018

walking
Friday, November 03, 2017

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. :)

running
Sunday, July 16, 2017

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

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.

running
Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Good for running, but views aren't anything special (there are better trails in the park) and crowded.

mountain biking
Monday, January 16, 2017

More vertical and more bike and foot traffic than I would have liked.

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