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“Not as good as I expected” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Mount Vernon Trail

Mount Vernon Trail
Along Shoreline, Arlington, VA
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Ranked #5 of 34 attractions in Arlington
Type: Biking Trails
Attraction Details
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Not as good as I expected”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

Rented bikes from Bike and Roll Alexandria. Bikes were only OK - not much of an advert for Trek bikes.

Trail is a bit harder than I expected with several short climbs. The final climb into Mount Vernon itself is the hardest. Trail is well maintained and there are much needed water fountains every couple of miles or so. There are decent views from time to time but it mostly follows (but is well separated from) the road so there is an ever present traffic noise. Lots of people out on the trail but even on a Saturday afternoon it didn't seem too crowded.

If you are going into Mount Vernon Estate get your tickets from Bike and Roll before you go. Visitors getting their tickets at the gate have to wait for a timed access to the house. Bike and Roll tickets get you straight in without waiting.

Visited July 2013
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57 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Arlington, Virginia
Top Contributor
244 reviews 244 reviews
100 attraction reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
137 helpful votes 137 helpful votes
“Beautiful trail, but very crowded”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2013

The Mt. Vernon Trail is a very scenic 17-mile bicycle and jogging trail stretching from Mount Vernon in the South to Rosslyn in the North.

The Trail takes you through a lot of different areas. For instance, there are several parks, some of which have some minor historical interest (one has the remnants of a coastal artillery battery, another has an old lighthouse and used to be the site of a shipyard in World War I). There is a marsh where you can see wetlands birds. The Trail goes through Old Town Alexandria. It goes past the airport, where planes take off and land right overhead. The last several miles of the Trail offer terrific views of the famous DC monuments and memorials on the other side of the river. Very little of what is on the Trail is worth visiting on its own, but taken together, it's amazing how much there is between DC and Mt. Vernon.

The Trail is mostly level, and is not particularly challenging for runners or cyclists. There are many opportunities to get off the Trail in the parks, Alexandria, Crystal City and other areas, making it a useful way to get from one area to another without driving or taking the Metro.

The big problem with the Trail, though, is that it is extremely crowded with cyclists, walkers and joggers. If you go any distance on the Trail, you end up constantly maneuvering to pass people, to the extent that you are paying more attention to negotiating the Trail without colliding with someone than you do enjoying the many sights along the Trail.

An additional issue is the lack of signage on parts of the Trail. The Alexandria area is especially unclear, and there are other parts of the Trail where it is not clear where you need to go just to stay on the Trail. It is especially difficult if you do not know the area or the Trail well.

The Trail is best enjoyed in small sections. Walk or bike a stretch to one of the scenic portions of the Trail to relax, fish or have a picnic, but don't plan on doing any long training rides, as it becomes an endless series of stops, starts and slow downs.

Visited August 2013
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Amarillo, TX
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Beautiful and Challenging Trail Ride!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

I rented a bike in Old Town Alexandria and biked the 20 mile round-trip trail to Mt Vernon. The trail is extremely well maintained, as are the rest stops along the trail. There a some beautiful views of the river and gorgeous scenery in general along the trail.

This trail was challenging for me due to the hills and humidity. I live on flat land where it is really dry and underestimated how difficult these 20 miles would be! It was a good workout, so make sure that you can handle the challenge before embarking on the entire trail! I'm more of a runner, so the next time I take this trail, I will probably run it instead of biking it...either way would be beautiful! Mount Vernon makes for a good rest stop and there is food and (most importantly) water for purchase once you get there.

Visited July 2013
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Arlington, Virginia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Gorgeous sweeping views of the Potomac and Memorials”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

Hey visitors of DC....come see why DC is one of the best places to call home. Bikers and walkers share this path stretching for miles all the way to Mount Vernon. See the planes landing. Kayackers, crew and people fishing. Did I mention how gorgeous the Lincoln Memorial is?

Visited July 2013
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Arlington, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great for Biking”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

This multipurpose trail will take you all the way from Georgetown, past Arlington Cemetery, National Airport, and Old Town Alexandria, to Mt. Vernon, hugging the Potomac River almost the entire way. A very nice way to see these sites, if you are up for the 30-mile round trip bike ride. You can get bikes at many locations in Arlington and Alexandria through the Capitol BikeShare program. You can also walk along the trail, along the river, from parking lots along the way and from Old Town Alexandria.

Visited April 2013
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