The Mount Vernon Trail had better look out! Springtime is here, my boot (from a foot injury) is off, and I am on the move again!
It feels so nice to walk without feeling like a peg-leg pirate!
The trail is one of my all-time favorite places to hang out on warm, humid days. The weather’s usually more manageable by the water, and in the shade– something the GW Parkway offers plenty of.
On days when it’s above 50 degrees at 9 a.m., and we’ve nowhere to be– I will likely find myself on the windy road to one of the trail heads near George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
When my daughter was barely able to sit in a stroller unassisted, she would usually nap as long as I walked. One day we clocked 8 miles.
Those were the days.
Now that she prefers to be a bit more independent and mobile, I am lucky to get about four in. On a good day. With snacks. And our walk (the hills are a bit much for me to run, pushing 35-40 lbs of baby/stroller) usually involves several stops along the way to look at the ducks, play at the park, or run in the grass.
I’m grateful it’s so close, and so long that every time we visit can be somewhat different. The views are different. The stops are different. The days end differently each time.
If you prefer to ride, there are several ways to rent bikes in Alexandria, or join a bike tour of the trail to Mount Vernon from Alexandria. I don’t know that I’d recommend it, unless you’ve got the time and are planning to visit Mount Vernon anyway!
Here’s a map of the Mount Vernon trail with details for major stops:
Mount Vernon Trail Information
- 18-mile paved multi-use trail, starting at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Eastate to Theodore Roosevelt Island.
- The Mount Vernon Trail connects with several regional trails including Rock Creek, Four Mile Run and Woodrow Wilson Bride trails.
- The Mount Vernon trail is open daily from 6 AM – 10 PM; Commuters may use the trail at any time.
- Parking is available at every site along the trail, except Lady Bird Johnson Park and the Navy-Marine Memorial.
- The Mount Vernon trail is most easily reached by the Rosslyn, Arlington Cemetery and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport metro stops.
- Motorized vehicles (except for persons with disabilities) are not allowed on the trail.
- For more information on activities and special programs, visit the George Washington Memorial Parkway site
My GW Parkway/ Mount Vernon Trail Tips
- Start at Mount Vernon if you feel like conquering some hills; start further north near Gravelly Point/DCA if you’re looking for a flatter terrain.
- Bring water and stop to use the potty before you leave. There are a few places along the way with restrooms and water facilities, but you have to walk to them!
- Pack a picnic and sunscreen. You’re right by the Potomac River for much of the trail, which will greatly increase your exposure to sunshine.
- Take a bike if you’ve got it. You can cover so much more, and quicker.
- A few of my favorite stops on the trail: Theodore Roosevelt Island, Netherlands Carillon, Fort Hunt Park, Gravelly Point Park and, of course, Mount Vernon
- Go in a group, tell someone where you’ll be, and stay alert of your surroundings. Plan smart. The trail is marked, so remember if you walk two miles one way, you’ve got to turn around and travel that far back!
More Outdoors Fun in the DC Area
- A few of my favorite picnic places in and around DC
- Fort McHenry near Inner Harbor Baltimore is a great place to enjoy the sunshine
- Head over to Theodore Roosevelt Island for a nature walk
- Check out one of the nearby National Parks for some fresh air