National Take a Hike Day on November 17th is the perfect excuse to explore the great outdoors, and what better way to do it than hiking some of Arlington's best trails? We asked our Discover Arlington followers for their favorite local hiking spots, and the response was fantastic. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a pleasant walk, Arlington’s trails offer something for everyone. Let’s dive into the top trails as voted by you!
1. Mount Vernon Trail
(Discover Arlington Top Pick)Our Discover Arlington top pick, the Mount Vernon Trail is a scenic marvel stretching 18 miles along the Potomac River. From Roosevelt Island to George Washington’s historic estate at Mount Vernon, the trail offers uninterrupted views of Washington D.C.’s famous monuments, the skyline, and the natural beauty of the Potomac. It's a versatile path, suitable for biking, jogging, and leisurely walks, and is dotted with picnic spots, parks, and rest areas. Each season brings a new aspect to the trail, from cherry blossoms in spring to vibrant foliage in fall.
2. Teddy Roosevelt Island
This tranquil haven is an escape into nature's embrace right in the heart of the city. Teddy Roosevelt Island is a living memorial to the United States' 26th president, a dedicated conservationist and outdoorsman. The island features a variety of trails, each weaving through diverse habitats – from swampy woods to rocky shores. The centerpiece is a statue of Roosevelt surrounded by fountains and inscriptions. This spot is not only a hiker’s delight but also a historian’s treasure, offering insights into Roosevelt’s legacy.
3. Gulf Branch Trail
Tucked away in North Arlington, Gulf Branch Trail offers a more rugged experience. This lesser-known trail is a haven for those seeking solitude and a bit of challenge. The path leads you through dense woods, over streams, and past historical remnants, like an old mill, reminding hikers of Arlington’s past. It’s a fantastic trail for observing local wildlife and is particularly enchanting in the early morning mist or during the golden hours of sunset.
4. Donaldson Run Trail
Experience the serene beauty of Arlington’s woodlands on the Donaldson Run Trail. Following the course of a bubbling stream, this trail provides a peaceful retreat from urban life. Hikers can enjoy the gentle sounds of running water, the lush canopy of trees, and the occasional wildlife sighting. The trail eventually leads to a charming waterfall, a perfect backdrop for a rest or a photo. It’s an ideal choice for families, nature photographers, and anyone looking to enjoy a leisurely hike.
Arlington’s trails offer a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty and historical richness of the area. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, these trails provide a chance to unwind, exercise, and connect with nature. So lace up your hiking boots, pack some water, and get ready to explore the natural wonders of Arlington on National Take a Hike Day!