10 Stunning Trails To Go Hiking Around DC

Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz

hiking in and around dc

Time to go hiking Washingtonians!

Exploring the great outdoors has become a new socially-distant favorite for many of us. We mean… with soo many beautiful places around the District how could it not, right? That’s why we’ve come up with ten stunning trails to go hiking around DC and explore the local wilderness.

We’ve organized our list of stunning hiking spots around DC from easiest to hardest to make the decision of where to go easier. Oh and don’t forget to bring your camera with you cause these gorgeous trails serve some equally gorgeous views! Check them out:

1. Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is the perfect trail if you don’t want to leave the city. It is right in the heart of the city and its network of trails and pathways are very hiking friendly for those of you who want to take it easy. While at the park make sure to also check out some of its awesome historic landmarks such as the Pierce Mill gristmill, the Rolling Meadow Footbridge, and Miller Cabin.

2. Theodore Roosevelt Island

If you’re a fan of wildlife then this little island is perfect escape from the city for you. Its easy 1.6-mile loop trail is perfect for hikers of all levels and its one of the best trails to go hiking in Washington DC, featuring boardwalks over marsh areas and clean wooded forest paths. Plus, its easily accessed through public transportation!

3. Tregaron Conservancy

These century-old gardens are actually one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Located between Woodland Park and Cleveland Park Tregaron’s  20 gorgeous acres of secret gardens, meadows and ponds. The estate, which has been around for more than a century, was once home to the DC elite. Now it’s a spectacular hidden spot in which to break away from DC life without even leaving the city!

4. Seneca Creek Greenway Trail

These 7.8 miles of gorgeous woodland offer great views of the Great Seneca Creek! While hiking on the trail you’ll also be able to check out the historic Middlebrook and Watkins Mills.

5. Buzzard Rock Trail

So this trail is definitely not for the faint-hearted, especially if they’re not into the paranormal. But if you’re a fan of the haunted and are looking to channel the spooky spirit of the season, we highly suggest checking out Buzzard Rock trail. This hike will take you down to the old St. Mary’s ruins. The ruins are actually the remnants of a church belonging to an old seminary school and have inspired many a ghost story and legends involving Satanic rituals and ghosts. Yikes!

 6. Maryland Heights Trail

This hiking trail in Harpers Ferry– just an hour away from DC–offers stunning views of the merging of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers as well as the borders of three states, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. While at Maryland Heights you can choose to take two different paths: the overlook and the full trail. If you wish to do some exploring around Harpers Ferry as well, then you’ll be best off by choosing the shorter, overlook trail, which will take you to a gorgeous viewpoint from which to admire the merging of the rivers and Harpers Ferry.


7. Sugarloaf Mountain

Most of the trails at Sugarloaf Mountain are moderately difficult but the climb is worth the effort since all of them will take you to spectacular views of the fields and sprawling hills of pastoral Maryland.  Sugarloaf offers three different pathways, the White, Blue and Purple trails and its just a short distance from DC.

8. Whiteoak Canyon Trail

This gorgeous trail in Shenandoah National Park, VA leads to different waterfalls. Although it’s the perfect trail to hop on this summer and go swimming in the wild, the park bursts into beautiful hues of auburn, gold and red during the fall, pair that with the waterfalls and you’ve got yourself a totally gorgeous fall hike!

9. Old Rag

One of the most popular trails in Shenandoah National Park, Old Rag Mountain offers some of the most stunning views of the park. But to get to these drop-dead gorgeous views you’ll have to hike up an 8.6-mile, largely uphill trail. Don’t be fooled by its “fake” summits though! This trail likes to fool hikers with many I-think-we’re-there summits, just remember you won’t have made it to the top until you see a sign labeling the summit as “Old Rag Mountain,” that’s when you’ll know you’ve arrived.

10. Billy Goat Trail

The hardest trail on our list, the Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls, MD involves plenty of hiking, climbing, hopping around cliffsides and a famous scramble up the side of a cliff. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but if you choose to go hiking on the Billy Goat Trail you’ll get to enjoy some pretty epic views over the Potomac River and Great Falls!

See also: 10 Awesome Day Trips From Washington DC

[featured image: Holly Mandarich, Unsplash]

Things To Do Wellness & Nature