Mount Vernon Trail
Park at Theodore Roosevelt Island
Running along the banks of the Potomac River through Northern Virginia, the Mt. Vernon Trail is a great resource for runners or cyclists who are looking to get a long workout in. The trail is 18 miles in length and runs from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s historic home. The path is mostly asphalt with some areas of concrete and boardwalk and is used predominantly by cyclists, many of whom are commuters. Cyclists range from the casual tourist to the commuter to the serious cyclist, and you’re likely to see them all on the trail on any given day. The trail is shaded in many areas and offers benches and trash cans along the route. A stop at Gravelly Point at Reagan International Airport offers not only porta-potties but also a great venue to watch planes land and take-off literally right over your head. There are no water stops along the trail, so come prepared with your own fluids. The trails does have several intersections, particularly in the area of the airport and in Alexandria, so make sure to use caution and watch for signs. The route can be confusing once you reach Alexandria, so turn to take the “Mt. Vernon Alternate Trail” if you’d rather not ride through the city itself. The majority of the trail offers sweeping views of the Potomac River and Washington D.C., and it’s a beautiful place to spend the day. Elevation is limited to the bridges you’ll cross to get there from D.C. If you decide to bike or run in from D.C.. you can easily connect to the trail using the 15th Street bikeway, which provides bike lanes and a safe way to cross the river.