A Guide to the 7 Best Walking Trails in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

Living in D.C. gives you access to great jobs, vibrant communities, beautiful apartments, and world-class amenities, and if you want to just get out and stroll around, this city offers that too. There are all kinds of walking trails in Washington, D.C., that take you past monuments, through historic neighborhoods, around natural sites, and more. The D.C. trail system is so expansive that you can easily find what you want, whether that’s a short walk, a long hike, city views, or time in nature. 

Walking is great for your heart, body, and mind. Those unsure where to start should check out this guide to the best walking trails in D.C.

Walking Trails at the Georgetown Waterfront Park

Georgetown Waterfront Park

The Georgetown Waterfront Park is a national park amid the nation’s capital. The park sits along the banks of the Potomac River, and it features lush rain gardens, a gorgeous fountain, and a stunning pollinator garden. Some of the city’s best walking trails run through this park, and it also features a labyrinth for contemplative walks to quiet your mind.

These paths are half a mile from the Circle Arms Apartments and approximately 3 miles from The Archer Apartments.

Whitehaven Park Trail

The nearly 1-mile long Whitehaven Park Trail starts near the intersection of Whitehaven Parkway and Wisconsin Avenue, and it runs into the Glover-Archbold Trail. This trail takes you through a forest setting, and a gentle brook bubbling alongside much of the walking path mutes the sounds of the city. This trail lets you feel like you’ve escaped from the city and gotten to the middle of nowhere.

This trail is about a mile from The Archer Apartments in Cathedral Heights. 

The C&O Towpath

C&O Towpath

Most D.C. residents hear about the C&O Towpath, but they often aren’t sure what this means. The towpath is one of the longest and best walking trails in D.C., and it runs along the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. It is called the towpath because mules used to use it when they transported items hundreds of years ago, long before the birth of the country or the establishment of the nation’s capital. You can take a short walk or grab your bicycle and explore the entirety of this 184.5-mile path that runs from the Georgetown neighborhood to Cumberland, Maryland.

This trail is worth seeing, but it’s best for a weekend hike, as you need to commit to a day out. It sits approximately 10 miles from 1900 Lamont, The Vintage on 16th, The Archer, and Circle Arms, but the exact distance varies based on where you hop on the trail.

Wesley Heights Trail

Wesley Heights Trail

The Wesley Heights Trail is located near Glover Archbold Park, less than a mile from The Archer in the beautiful Cathedral Heights neighborhood. The trail boasts two sections that are 0.5 and 0.8 miles long, and if you want a longer hike, you can verge onto Whitehaven Trail or Battery Kimble Trail. The mature trees and shade paths make this path one of the best walking trails for hot summer days, especially if you have a furry friend who enjoys the soft feeling of dirt paths under their paws.

Western Ridge Trail

The 5-mile-long Western Ridge Trail is near the Columbia Heights neighborhood, and it is governed by the National Park Service. This trail runs from Boundary Bridge to Bluff Bridge, and it overlaps with Black Horse Trail. Parts of the trail are paved with asphalt, but other sections are rustic, with rocks and tree roots underfoot. You can opt for a moderate stroll through beautiful, forested land or turn onto a more challenging route that features ascents and descents over exposed rock faces.

You can access these trail systems just steps from the doors of The Vintage on 16th or 1900 Lamont Apartments, but depending on where you access the trails, you may need to drive up to 3 miles. 

The Asia Trail

Residents of Mount Pleasant may want to check out the Asia Trail. This is part of the Smithsonian National Zoo, and it takes you past red pandas, otters, leopards, sloth bears, and other wild creatures in a habitat designed to simulate their natural environment. This trail lets you take a break from D.C. and gives you the feeling of being in a completely different part of the world. 

Residents of The Vintage on 16th or 1900 Lamont Apartments can access the exotic beauty of this trail just steps from their apartments.

The Fort-Circle Park Hiker-Biker Trail

Fort-Circle Park Hiker-Biker Trail

The Fort-Circle Trail is a 7-mile path through a forest maintained by the National Forest Service. The trail is well maintained, but it is in a natural area, and you should expect a lot of elevation gains and losses. This is an excellent trail for a stroll after work if you just do part of the trail, or you can put on your hiking boots and spend an entire morning enjoying the miles of beauty along this trail. 

This path is worth going out of your way for, and it offers the perfect chance to unwind during the weekend. It is about 6 to 7 miles from numerous apartments, including the 1830 R Street NW Apartments, The Phoenix and Circle Arms.

Glover-Archbold Trail

Part of the Glover-Archbold trail starts in the Van Ness neighborhood, but you can jump on this trail from other parts of the city as well. This path lets you easily customize your walk to the length of your preference. You can start on Van Ness Street and walk to the C&O Canal, or you can jump off the trail early at one of the many locations where it crosses a major thoroughfare. 

Walkers who want to get in some miles can take advantage of the fact that this relaxing trail connects with many of the other best walking trails in the city, including the Rock Creek Trails. It sits about a mile from The Parkway and just 2 miles from Sedgwick Gardens Apartments.

D.C. Apartment Living for Any Lifestyle

You need the right place to call home if you want to make the most of the D.C. area, and our team can help you. We have multiple apartment buildings throughout some of the best neighborhoods in D.C., and the walking trails covered in this guide are conveniently located for our residents.
Want to learn more about the benefits of living in one of our communities? Then contact us today to set up a tour and talk more about our facilities. We offer great apartments for D.C. residents, and all our locations are near great amenities such as walking trails and more.our 

Share This With Someone You Know!


You must be logged in to do this action.

Don’t have an account? Sign up