Mount Vernon Trail
Washington D.C. bike trails are fantastic, and the Mount Vernon bike Trail is the best of them all. Technically it is a Virginia Trail rather than a District of Coumbia trail, but let’s not get technical. The Mount Vernon Trail is a sweet rail for a whole host of reasons:
1. Just cross the Potomac River from Washington D.C. and you’re on the Mount Vernon Trail. The first time I rode on it, I had no idea how close the trail was. Just by coincidence, it turned out that the trail started right outside of the hotel where I was staying.
2. Like many other multitrails, the Mount Vernon Trail provides the best of both worlds. It starts in a large metropolitan area with ready access to bike rentals, transportation, lodging, and supplies. Then it guides bicyclists through pastoral riverside settings that provide peace and tranquility for even the most harried of bike riders.
3. The people on the Mount Vernon Trail were incredibly friendly and helpful. One time while I was pulled over and fiddling with my GPS, I had a couple people ask if I needed assistance. And despite the general sparsity (see #4) of fellow trail users, the few that I met smiled and offered a friendly greeting.
4. For such a major trail, so close to dense population, I was pleasantly surprised by the infrequency of meetings with fellow bike riders, walkers, & skaters. (I only saw one of the latter.)
5. As you can see from the pictures, the natural scenery was gorgeous. Between the views of the Potomac, the lush foliage, and the trail itself, I was constantly in awe of the beauty that surrounded me.
6. In addition to the natural beauty, the Mount Vernon Trail offers a unique benefit. From beginning to end, it offers a glimpse of national monuments, historical settings, and unique architectural structures. Of course the first part of the trail provides views of such Washington DC monuments as the Washington and Jefferson Memorial and the Arlington Memorial Bridge. One of the great and unique treats found along the trail is the Navy and Marine Memorial (see picture above). In addition to being a nice memorial, it is unique because the Mount Vernon Trail is just about the only way to access this memorial. Most people don’t even know the memorial exists. And finally, there’s Mt. Vernon itself. A tour of the structures and grounds of George Washington’s family estate is the perfect way to spend a day. Just make sure you leave enough time for the ride back. (Since I was in D.C. as a chaperone to 130 8th graders, I got to ride back on a tour bus with some of them. That was a little less relaxing than the bike ride there, but fun in its own way.)
7. Another unique experience on the Mount Vernon Trail is Battery Park. Basically, this is where the trail runs right under landing and departing jets from the runways of Ronald Reagan Airport. As you can see from the pictures above, the jets are so close, you almost feel as if you can touch their bellies as they zoom by overhead.
8. Finally, the proximity of other trails such as the Custis Trail, the W & OD Trail, the Cherry Creek Trail, and many others, make Virginia and Washington D.C. a bike trail paradise. If you get a chance to ride these trail, hop on the trailsnet home/ blog page and leave a comment to let me know what you think.
Use(s): biking, cruiser, Elliptigo, hiking, inline skating, mountain biking, recumbent, road biking, trail running, Trikking, wheelchair accessible
Length Range: 10 - 20 miles
Type(s): community trail, historical trail, multi-use trail, river trail, suburban trail, urban trail