Best Hiking Trails

Going for a hike is a perfect summer activity, and despite DC’s urban setting, there are many options. Today we are sharing our favorite day hikes in the DC/MD/VA area ranked by difficulty (easiest to hardest): 

Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island was created in honor of former president and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt. The path is one large loop around the island with small shoot off paths that lead to the river bank. In addition, there is a plaza area with a statue, fountains, and plentiful seating. Though this may be considered more of a walk and less of a hike, it is a charming place for any person or pet to enjoy the scenery of DC and VA.

Rock Creek Park

Located in the heart of the city, Rock Creek Park is designed as an outdoor pathway connecting historic and natural landmarks. Using the various trails, you can make your way to sites such as the Old Stone House, or simply enjoy the beautiful nature within the park by hiking.

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

Scott’s Run is a fairly non-strenuous hike that leads to a cascading waterfall. On a nice day, the large and flat rocks that surround the falls are a great place to hang out. 

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Trail

This path follows a transport route that dates back to 1828. Hikers follow the Potomac River where there are still 74 locks, 12 aqueducts, and 20 lockhouses, all of which are original from that time. The path itself is fairly flat and wide, and the secluded forest setting makes it a favorite. 

National Arboretum

Best known for the Capital columns, there is a multitude to discover in this 446 acre park. Entry is completely free, and the trails and gardens are well-maintained. 

Maryland Heights Trail

The Maryland Heights Trail boats incredible views of the Civil War landmark, Harper’s Ferry. There are two paths: one more difficult than the other, but the shorter one will bring you to an incredible viewpoint where you can gaze at Harper’s Ferry and the convergence of the Potomac and Shanandoah Rivers.  

White Oak Canyon 

If you are looking for a moderately challenging hike with waterfalls, White Oak Canyon is the perfect place. It is part of the Shenandoah National Park, and this trail features six waterfalls with swimming holes along the way.

Sugarloaf Mountain 

Sugarloaf Mountain is a great place to find more challenging hikes with great views of piquesque fields and hills in Maryland. There are four main hikes to choose from varying in difficulty. 

Old Rag Mountain 

Located in Shenandoah National Park, Old Rag is an ambitious and rewarding hike. Be prepared for steep hiking and rock scrambling in an all-day experience. Once you get to the summit, the views are unmatched.  

Billy Goat Trail

The Billy Goat Trail is ideal for adrenaline junkies due to its rock scramble to the top of a cliff. This trail is recommended for advanced hikers, and its Potomac River and Great Falls views will not disappoint.