Mount Vernon Trail

Mount Vernon Trail, Arlington: Address, Mount Vernon Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Mount Vernon Trail
4.5
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4.5
248 reviews
Excellent
166
Very good
69
Average
11
Poor
2
Terrible
0

Taylor B
Chicago, IL7,720 contributions
How many people know the Mount Vernon Trail really exists? It is a 17-mile-long path that stretches along the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Northern Virginia between Rosslyn and George Washington's home at Mount Vernon. As part of U.S. Bike Route 1, the Potomac Heritage Trail and the East Coast Greenway, it opened in 1972 as a gravel path and was subsequently expanded and paved. Today, it is a popular trail for walkers, runners and cyclists that affords panoramic views of the Potomac River and the skyline and historic monuments of Washington DC, access via several bridges across the river to the National Mall and connections to other area hiker/biker routes. We became aware of the trail via a tour guide at Mount Vernon. It connects the easternmost portions of Arlington County, the city of Alexandria and Fairfax County and parallels the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the western bank of the Potomac River. Most of the northern half of the trail is open with sweeping views of the river and Washington DC while the southern eight miles below Alexandria is largely wooded with limited river views until you reach Mount Vernon. It also takes visitors along the west side of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Gravelly Point, where there are views of arriving and departing airplanes. Among other trails that connect with the Mount Vernon Trail are the East Coast Greenway, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath and the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail.
Written November 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Christine L
Grand Rapids, MI17 contributions
As an avid runner, this is one of my most favourite trails in the US. I've traveled from NYC to San Francisco and run many rail trails in between, but the Mount Vernon Trail holds a special piece of my heart. It's beauty and ease of use can't be beat. It's a popular trail, so there are usually other runners on it, but not so many that it feels crowded; just enough to make this solo female runner feel safe. It has a varied terrain which is nice, but if you start up at Mount Vernon the trail is mostly downhill, which makes for a fun out and back run. Alternatively, you can start at Mount Vernon and run to King Street which would be great for a long run (it's about 9ish miles). Overall, it's a great trail and perfect for any type of runner or walker and the view along to Potomac is incredible.
Written October 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Anthony-Susan
Washington DC, DC854 contributions
Friends
If you are a cyclist, this is truly one of the most beautiful and historic bike trails you will find anywhere in the world. As one who has cycled on every continent except one (you can guess which one), I still consider this trail among the top five. Over the years, whenever I visited Washington, I would rent a bike from the bike shop in Georgetown at the Key Bridge, cycle across the bridge to the start of the trail and then enjoy a full day of riding to and from Mt Vernon.

You can also start half way between DC and Mt Vernon in downtown Alexandria. Capital Bike Share bikes are plentiful and inexpensive, and you can cycle back to DC and drop if off there. Another option is to cycle down to Mt Vernon (9 miles from downtown Alexandria) and either ride back or, if you are staying in DC, take the afternoon ferry for a glorious ride back to the Marina in southwest Washington. You can then cycle back to your hotel if you are staying in DC and drop off your Bike Share bike any one of the many stations.

Bring a camera, and consider stops along the way. If you are starting from Georgetown, you will have a magnificent view of Washington from the Key Bridge. You can then consider a stop at Roosevelt Island, which has been maintained in its natural state despite all the urban growth around it. Next stop is Gravelly Point, where the planes land seemingly just above your head. Washington area parents know this is THE place to bring your kids to see them marvel in this wonder. Next stop is Old Town Alexandria. You cycle right through the waterfront area. Stop for an espresso or at one of the three ice cream shops near the corner of King and Union.

Next stop is Jones Point Park, just under the soaring Woodrow Wilson Bridge across the Potomac. Ride to the far point. George Washington himself led a group of our founding fathers marching from Old Town's Gadsby's Tavern carrying a stone marker that marked the far southern edge of the original Washington D.C. The lighthouse where the marker is has recently been restored.

Next stop is Dyke's Marsh, where you ride over a low bridge through the rushes, catty nine tails and water plants. Next stop could be George Washington's River Farm, which is now the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. You will have to divert from the path and ride through one of Washington's most spectacular residential areas, with waterfront homes that will dazzle.

Back on the trail, next stop is Fort Hunt. Not much to see, but it's worth noting that only a few years ago it was revealed that this was site of America's super secret decoding operation during WWII. The bunker where this underground operation took place is preserved, but it is permanently locked.

Just beyond Ft Hunt is one of the prettiest spot in all of the Washington area: a lookout from which you can see Ft Washington across the river in all its preserved glory and then looking further south, Mt Vernon itself.

Be warned that the last mile of the route before Mt Vernon is a beautiful winding trail through the forest, but it's also a steep uphill grade.

Enjoy!
Written May 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gohomegnome
Washington DC, DC95 contributions
Oh this trail isn’t fun for anyone. Walkers and Cyclists alike abhor this trail. It’s too narrow, so sharing is a problem. Tripping over the roots and falling into sunken holes is an actual hazard on this trail. If you’re a cyclist, prepare to rattle your teeth out and lose grip on our bars.
Written August 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

operasuper
Arlington, VA12 contributions
Friends
Wonderful views along the trail. Anytime of the year is good to visit. You may also see wildlife, mostly waterfowl in the Potomac river.
Written December 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JVBV
Okeechobee, FL292 contributions
Business
This trail provides walkers, joggers anc cyclists with easy, safe access to the entire area. I use it to run and have many routes from 4 miles to over 10 miles. It can get crowded in the morning and afternoon commute time and during high tourism times. As always courtesy and consideration is needed due to the speed differential between walkers, runners and cyclists. Many of the cyclists carry a bell to give you a warning they are passing from behind. The trail is clean and well maintained. My only caution would be that the trail crosses the GW Parkway at a couple locations when approaching the Memorial Bridge. This is a high volume, high speed road - so use caution when crossing!
Written June 17, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

QuickWhitTravel
Washington DC, DC4,067 contributions
Friends
I love running along the Mount Vernon Trail! It's the best place around for running, biking, sightseeing (the views across the Potomac can't be beat, especially at sunrise!), bird watching, walking, etc. It takes you from Mount Vernon (Washington's estate) all the way up to Georgetown. The Memorial Bridge is on the way, so you can also access DC from behind the Lincoln Memorial. Definitely go for a stroll or a run!
Written May 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jbg74
Saint Paul, MN895 contributions
This is a great trail to walk on. There are miles of paved paths there. It is also connected to Theodore Roosevelt Island and several bridges across the Potomac River to the National Mall.
Written June 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cindy G
San Antonio, TX378 contributions
Very nice drive along the Potomac River - plenty of places to pull over to walk, ride bikes or picnic
Written January 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Thomas K
Fairfax, VA257 contributions
My wife and I parked along the George Washington Memorial Parkway and took a long walk on the trail. A beautiful setting.
Written December 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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