Map of Mount Vernon Trail

Located just across the river from Downtown Washington D.C. is a great multi-use recreation trail. Nearly 18 miles long, the Mount Vernon Trail follows the Potomac's Virginia shoreline from Theodore Roosevelt Island (near Rossyln, Va) to George Washington's Estate located at Mount Vernon.

The Mount Vernon Trail is a big favorite of area cyclists. The trail offers wonderful views of the Potomac and DC monuments. There are also several points-of-interest along the way, including George Washington's home at Mount Vernon, Olde Town Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetery, and the local's favorite Gravelly Point (at the north end of National Airport's main runway).

Explore this trail in Google Maps

The trail is some what tricky to follow as it passes through Alexandria because there are actually two route choices, both of which are on street. The more popular route is along the waterfront, via Union Street. There are several shops and restaurant around the King Street intersection. However, some may find that North Royal Street provides a more direct route. Either street route is quite bicycle friendly.

Mount Vernon Trail passing through Olde Town Alexandria
Red = Bike Trail - Green = On-Street Route

For the most part, the trail is fairly flat with an occasional rolling hill here and there. However the last mile heading toward Mount Vernon has a pretty good climb. Once you reach the northern end at Roosevelt Island, you can either turn around and head back south, or you can cross the footbridge over the parkway and head west on the Custis Trail. This will take you to the W&OD Trail, a 45 mile long rail trail through Northern Virginia.

External Links
  • George Washington Parkway
  • National Airport
  • Arlington, VA
  • Alexandria, VA
  • It is also worth noting that there are several Metrorail stations within close proximity to the trail. The most convenient stations are Rossyln (near the north end of the trail) Arlington Cemetery, Reagan National Airport, and Braddock Road. This provides a possible bail-out option, should you discover that the full 36 mile round trip proves too much. Just keep in mind that bikes are not permitted on the trains during weekday rush hour periods.