5 Best Running Trails: Washington, D.C.

Whether you live in the D.C area or are there temporarily, it is great to know the five best running trails around Washington, D.C. Staying fit in a metropolis is easier when you know the best running routes. And, everyone needs a change of scenery once in a while.

  1. Washington and Old Dominion Trail. This 45-mile paved trail is a popular one, connecting with many others. Walkers stay to the right of the yellow line, to allow joggers and cyclists to pass on the left. For your safety, use it only during daylight hours and keep ear phones/buds on low so you can hear those approaching from behind. This trail goes through many parks and neighborhoods, making it nicely accessible for many people.
  2. The BWI Trail. With eleven miles of paved pathway going between Annapolis and Glenn Burnie, this is one of the newest trails in the Washington, D.C. area. It is very convenient for the next time you are at the BWI airport or the nearby Amtrak station. Bring along your own food and drink, though; there are no pit stops once you are on this trail.
  3. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail. One of the oldest trails in the area, this 184-mile path has seen lots of cyclists and riders passing through. It previously was parallel to the rail and canal systems that were so common in this area at one time. It starts in Washington, D.C., and ends in Potomac, Maryland. Many walkers enjoy the spectacular view of the Potomac River along the northern edge.
  4. The Mount Vernon Trail. Popular with cyclists and runners alike, this eighteen-mile trail will take you from Theodore Roosevelt Island (located just across the river from downtown), to Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. This trail takes you through Alexandria and other points of interest. Following the shore part of the trail will help you avoid the busier places where it goes through traffic.
  5. Lake Accotink trail. This easy path is great for runners who enjoy a simpler trail. Traveling along the shores of Lake Accotink, this four-mile trail is great for beginners and families, with only modest inclines along the way. It is easy to access near Springfield, VA, off of I-95. This trail has no bathrooms or drinking fountains, so plan with this in mind.

Keeping fit while staying in the capital city can be enjoyable and convenient with all the running trails and walking paths that go around and through Washington, D.C. Many of them are scenic and pass along historic landmarks as well. Several the trails intersect, giving runners many options to vary their workout routine. Water bottles, a good pair of running shoes and a good plan are all you need to take advantage of this great running trails system.

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