Explore the most popular Paved 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.

Magnificent walk through many beautiful and historic sites.

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).

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.

good.ride

hiking
3 months ago

A beautiful but all too brief trail

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.

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.

Love the fact that you can bike up to the peer.

Great trail! I just got in 7 miles on it and really enjoyed it.

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.

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.

hiking
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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!

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.

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

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.

hiking
Thursday, July 05, 2018

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.

Awesome views & scenery; photo ops as well!

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

walking
Sunday, June 24, 2018

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.

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

walking
Saturday, February 17, 2018

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.

road biking
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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

hiking
Sunday, January 07, 2018

Great walk to all the monuments.

walking
Tuesday, January 02, 2018

walking
Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Good tour

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

It's always a pleasure to walk the mall

running
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

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.

walking
Thursday, August 03, 2017

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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