Best Bike Trails in the Washington, DC Area

Bicycling in DC, Maryland and Virginia

••• © Rachel Cooper

The Washington, DC area has hundreds of miles of scenic bike trails. The following bike trails are also suitable for walking, jogging and roller blading. The best trails in the area are also the most popular and crowded, especially on weekends. If you have the opportunity, get out there and ride on a weekday, or during the early morning hours or late in the day.

  • Capital Crescent Trail: 13 Miles - Paved/Crushed Stone
    This is my favorite bike trail in the area. The trail is a rail-trail, built on the abandoned railbed of the Georgetown Branch of the B&O Railroad. The Trail is paved for the first 7 ½ miles from Georgetown to Bethesda, and is a limestone crushed stone surface from Bethesda to Rosemary Hills, in Silver Spring. The trail will eventually be extended to downtown Silver Spring. The Capital Crescent Trail is a beautiful trail with views of the C & O Canal and lots of shade. The first three miles run parallel to the C&O Towpath, but then veers off through affluent neighborhoods of NW Washington, DC. Between Georgetown and Bethesda, Fletchers Boat House is a great place to picnic, rent a bike or a canoe. From here you can follow the Capital Crescent Trail or you can veer off to the C & O Towpath.
     
  • Washington & Old Dominion Trail: 45 Miles – Paved
    This is a rail trail built on the former roadbed of the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, which runs from Shirlington to Purcellville, Virginia. A horse trail runs along side much of the route. Access to this trail from Roosevelt Island is made by using the 4 mile long Custis Trail.
     
  • Rock Creek Hiker/Biker Trail: 20 Miles – Paved
    This trail is a collection of paths through Rock Creek Park that were linked together over the years. Sights on the bike trail include the National Zoo and the Equestrian Center at the Candy Cane City playground. There are also some nice picnic areas at the north end of the trail. The Rock Creek Hiker/Biker Trail now extends to Beach Drive where the National Park Service closes the road to automobiles on weekends and holidays.
     

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