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HomeArchive100 Days ARCHIVESummer Fun, Day 5: Explore Great Hikes in and Around D.C.

Summer Fun, Day 5: Explore Great Hikes in and Around D.C.

Ready to hike somewhere new? Washington D.C. holds more than just monuments.

These exceptional parks in the D.C. metro area feature great hikes, bikes and trails for you and your family to explore. And right now, while traffic is light, it’s the perfect time to visit these great parks

Here are 5 favorite spots around the district that are worth the trip! 

(Note that due to COVID-19, many of these state and national parks are open, but indoor facilities at the parks may not be, and other distancing measures will be in place. Check websites before venturing out to any of these parks.)

Theodore Roosevelt Island
Technically still in D.C. but accessed by the Virginia side of the Potomac River, Roosevelt Island offers short loop trails perfect for little legs. Trails pass through different habitats including marsh and forest that allow for ample wildlife viewing. The center of the island opens up to a sculpture of Teddy Roosevelt, large hedges, and seasonal fountains. Trails are mixed with pavement, boardwalks, gravel, and dirt but a rugged stroller can handle Roosevelt Island well. Dog friendly.

Rock Creek Park
This urban oasis is unlike any other city park. Whether a quick little loop of a mile or less to visit the horses or linking together the Western Ridge Trail and Valley Trail to make a rigorous 12-mile loop, there is something for everyone. The park provides rock scrambling, puddle stomping in the creek, and wildlife watching. Dog friendly and is paved for easy stroller access.

Burnt Mills Reservoir East and West
These two parks in one straddle Columbia Pike (Rt. 29) in Silver Spring. Park on the East side to access the Northwest Branch Trail and park on the West side to access the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail going north. The Rachel Carson Greenway Trail feels surprisingly isolated and rugged despite being just off of Columbia Pike. It follows the creek north and eventually makes its way to Wheaton Regional Park. Dog friendly.

Kingman and Heritage Islands
Kingman and Heritage Islands park is on the east side of the city in the middle of the Anacostia River. The islands are a great place to poke around and explore the 1.5 miles of trails while looking for wildlife and enjoying scenic views from the river overlook. The main entrance is found on the west bank of the Anacostia River at the back of RFK Stadium Parking lot 6, between the capital bikeshare and the fields, about 0.1 miles south of Benning Road NE.
Dog friendly. 

Wheaton Regional Park
Wheaton Regional Park packs a punch with the amount of recreational opportunities crammed into one park. Wheaton Regional park includes Brookside Gardens, a 50-acre garden and nature center with a butterfly pavilion; large playgrounds with picnic area and a ride-on train; an ice skating rink, and a horse stable, tennis courts, carousel, and a dog park. But Wheaton Regional Park also has a significant number of trails to explore. Dog and stroller friendly.

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