Hiking isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when its about Washington D.C. One is most likely to thing about national monuments, politics and city life instead. But the nation’s capital has some of the best trails that are perfect for hiking and other activities like horseback riding, mountain biking, etc. Mountains in Washington D.C. offer you trails that are flat and smooth mostly and are suitable for beginners or outdoor loving families.
The Mountains near Washington D.C. gives you a chance to take a break from the city life to enjoy nature and feel one with it. The hiking trails in Washington D.C. brings you amazing views of the State. Already excited? Go hike along these trails with this handy guide!
10 Top Mountains In Washington DC
So, here is the list of some of the top mountains in Washington D.C. that also features the highest mountains in Washington D.C. Pack a good pair of hiking boots and some supplies and you are good to go.
1. Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian trail is 2200 miles long and crosses fifteen states from Georgia and ends at Maine. The drive to Virginia isn’t that far and you will find the 544 miles which is a quarter of the trail there. The drive takes you less than an hour to reach this part of the Appalachian Trail. The trails here are suitable for novice hikers and are well maintained as well. Some sections of the Appalachian Trail are more subtle and gentler comparatively. The views are amazing and brings you the views of Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. In case you are craving for a more challenging trail then head further south where the going gets much tougher.
Location: Appalachian Trail, VA, USA.
2. Cross County Trail
This is a 40 miles long trail that cuts through the north-south line between Occoquan and Potomac river and intersects at the Fairfax County which is a bustling part of suburban Virginia, Washington. Most of the trail is by the streams and though the green-spaces of the country and is perfect as it makes you forget the bustle of the city. The trail is easy to access and is an interesting one as there are several spots to jump off and on and is open to runners, hikers, horseback riders and cyclists.
Location: Cross Country Trail, Virginia, Washington.
3. Patuxent River State Park
This State Park is of 6700 acres in size and is about 34 miles from D.C., the place offers you several miles of unmarked and remote trails for hikers, runners and horseback riders. The trails are relatively easy and there is a peaceful and serene vibe to it. It is a great escape from the city for a change. The place being remotely located also makes it a challenge for beginners as the trails are unmarked. It is advisable to carry extra supplies.
Location: Patuxent River State Park, Upper Marlboro, MD, USA.
4. Burke Lake Park
The Burke Lake Park was once supposed to be converted into an airport, the project was called off and Dulles Airport was built nearby. Luckily the park remained and is a great spot for family or friends hangout. The park comprises of the Burke Lake, a golf course, volleyball courts, playing fields and a carousel. The flat trail is 4.5 mile long and is a great place for an evening stroll as most of it is by the lake itself. The trail is a mix of natural and paved surfaces and is a delight as it winds through the trees and crosses the lake’s dam.
Location: Burke Lake Park, Fairfax Station, VA.
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5. Catoctin Mountain Park
The Catoctin Mountain Park is situated in the Appalachian mountains in Maryland, USA. 18 miles of challenging trails cover the area and offers you incredible views. The most picturesque hike here is to Cunningham Falls, you can reach the falls from the trails on the west side of the park.
Location: Catoctin Mountain Park, Appalachian Mountains, Maryland.
6. Seneca Creek Park
The Seneca Creek park is right outside downtown D.C. and is of 6000 acres in size. There are two sections of this park, one is the developed portion in Gaithersburg, MD and the other is the 16.5 mile long Seneca Creek Greenway trail. This trail follows Seneca Creek and down to the Potomac River. The trail is blazed with blue markers and it cuts a beautiful path down the forest that makes the way downstream.
Location: Seneca Creek Park, Gaithersburg, MD.
7. Bears Den Park
The Bears Den Park sits off the Appalachian trail in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains located in Bluemont, VA. The area of Bears Den Park is 66 acres. The Bears Den Rocks sit at 1350 feet and is a must visit if you are here as it overlooks the valley. There are four trails here and they all can be looped to get a longer hike. The park is known for the incredible views and sunset here is a favourite among the hikers. There is a European style stone castle that was built in 1933 and it can be rented overnight.
Location: Bears Den Park, Bluemont, VA.
8. Potomac Heritage Trail
The Potomac Heritage Trail is of more than 800 miles. This was designated as a National Scenic trail in the year 1983. The trails passes through D.C., Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. There are 11 trails in total and each of it is unique and has it own characteristics. The views are variable from dense forests to city sidewalks, you may find yourself meandering along a waterway as well. Regardless of whichever trail you pick, this place assures you a wonderful hike.
Location: Potomac Heritage Trail, Virginia, USA.
9. C & O Canal Towpath
The towpath was originally built for mules that pull the boats up and down the waterway. The 184.5 mile long towpath starts from Georgetown to Cumberland. The trail here is mostly flat and the 600 feet elevation is present only at the start. The trail is a mix of dirt, gravel and grass making it a great place for some leisurely strolls without the presence of any challenging hills.
Location: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, USA.
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10. Harpers Ferry trails
The historic Harpers Ferry played a role in America’s Civil War mainly due to its strategic location by the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. At present the trails that exist is about 20 miles long. The Harper Ferry National Historical Park cover 4000 acres of land across Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, and the headquarters of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is at its midpoint and is about 2178 mile long. The hike provides you with views of riverbanks, old battlefields and once you are up the mountain then there views are a treat for everyone.
Location: Bolivar, USA.
Here we have it, a list of amazing trails for hiking lovers in and near Washington D.C. The scenic mountains here when climbed give one a chance to enjoy even more scenic views. The trails are varying and most of them are easy. Pack the necessary, book your trip to Washington DC and head out to enjoy the nature in the capital city area of USA.