MOUNT VERNON TRAIL:

MOUNT VERNON-ROSSLYN, VIRGINIA

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:    2007

Length:             Theodore Roosevelt Island parking lot to Mount Vernon; 18 ½ miles

Difficulty:         Moderate. Paved surface, but hilly and rougher along the Southern end. On street biking along one portion.

Directions:

The trail follows the George Washington Memorial Parkway along its entire route. The Theodore Roosevelt Island parking lot is located just north of the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge, while Mount Vernon is at the end of the parkway to the south. 

The National Park Service built the Mount Vernon Trail in 1973. It parallels the Potomac River and runs from Mount Vernon (home of George Washington) in the south, through the city of Alexandria (along city streets for part of the way) and up to Theodore Roosevelt Island, across from DC. You can see many Washington landmarks along the route such as the Washington Monument, Capitol, Lincoln Memorial and others or visit many stops along the way such as Lady Bird Johnson Park, Jones Point Lighthouse, Dyke Marsh Preserve or even watch planes taking off from Reagan National Airport. For more information visit; NPS , EAST COAST GREENWAY  , WASHINGTON BIKE ASSOC. or  METRO  (for trail access via the metro)

Starting from Roosevelt Island parking lot; Take the paved trail as it heads south from the parking lot. 

Note; To access Roosevelt Island, use the footbridge. However, no bikes are allowed on the Island.  

After a ½ mile, you cross under the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge.

Note; The trail to the right will take you over the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge and into DC.

After traveling under the bridge, you will start getting some nice views of Washington landmarks across the Potomac River. You then travel under the Arlington Memorial Bridge.

Note; At 1 ¼ miles, the trail to the right brings you to Lady Bird Johnson Park and possibly Arlington National Cemetery, I didn’t get a chance to check it out.

After 2 miles, spot the Navy and Marine Memorial on your right. The 3 mile mark brings you to Gravelly Point, just north of Reagan-Washington National Airport, where you can watch as planes take off right overhead.  As you go by the airport, the trail forks at 5 miles. Bear right and cross over Four Mile Run alongside the GW Pkwy.

Note; Left takes you west along the Four Mile Run Trail through Arlington. The Four Mile Run Trail , which begins near the mouth of the Potomac River and travels 6 miles to Bluemont Park alongside the Four Mile Run parallels the W & OD Trail for part of its run.

At 5 ¾ miles, on your left will be the Washington Sailing Marina. After 6 ¼ miles you encounter another split in the trail, however, both trails merge back together further along the trail. The Left trail brings you down along the Potomac River for a more scenic view. The trails merge again as you cross over some railroad tracks at 7 miles. Another ½ mile brings you alongside a city park. At the end of the park go left for less street traffic, or you may follow the bike signs to the right for more active city shops and restaurants. We went left and followed the bike route signs along the city streets. Very impressive buildings and architecture along this route. Keep following signs for Mount Vernon whenever a trail spurs off. Just over a mile, the trail leaves the streets and then travels alongside the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, turns left underneath the bridge, then right along South Street and out to the trail where it runs alongside the GW Parkway again. At the 10 ½ mile mark you reach Belle Haven Park. Restroom facilities, water fountains and picnic tables.

Note; As you wind a ½ mile through the park, a road to your left will lead down to the Belle Haven Marina. Down this road on your right is the trailhead for the Dyke Marsh Preserve.

Continuing along the trail, the surface is a bit rougher and hilly along the southern end. At 13 miles the trail briefly follows along a small residential road before it crosses the GW Parkway over a stone bridge. Look to your left after 15 ½ miles and you will see Fort Washington Park across the Potomac River. Another ¼ mile takes you underneath the GW Parkway.

Note; Before you travel under the parkway, to your right is a road that takes you up to Fort Hunt Park. As you approach the park gate entrance, look to your left and you’ll see a small path that leads to one of the old concrete emplacements, "Battery Robinson July 1901".

Back on the trail, you reach Riverside Park after 17 ½ miles. After 18 ½ miles you reach the Mount Vernon parking lot. If you have time, you can tour George Washington’s home and grounds. There is a fee. See; MOUNT VERNON

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CLICK HERE FOR MOUNT VERNON TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR ROOSEVELT ISLAND MAP

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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