Best Mountain Biking And Hiking In The DC Area

January 28, 2011 1:11 AM

Lake Fairfax Campgrounds

Lake Fairfax Campgrounds (

Fort Dupont


Fort Dupont Park is part of the Fort Circle Park system in Southeast Washington DC. The combined hiker/biker trail is comprised of a series of trails totaling about 8 miles in parks throughout Southeast DC. It is a combination of dirt single-track and partially graveled paths with a few roots and a number of semi-exposed water bars on many of the hills. The terrain is hilly throughout, with some sections beginner-friendly and others fairly challenging. A round-trip tour of all trails in the system will take from 1 to 2 hours and will include up and back some sections for total distances around 13 miles.

Cabin John Trail


The cabin John Trail is a 12 mile loop that is found inside Cabin John Regional Park. Even though it is in the middle of a very busy part of Bethesda you still get a very tranquil sense of being in Nature. Basically an out-and-back ride, with several options for loops as the trail enters Cabin John Regional Park just north of Democracy Boulevard. Much of the trail is alongside the creek, which can make for a lot of mud after rain. The trail includes rocky sections, and areas full of Mountain Laurel that blooms in June. There are several small stream crossings, and towards the northern end, the trail crosses the Cabin John creek. After the ride you can enjoy everything else the park has to offer including “baseball, jungle gym area, ice skating, and indoor tennis.

Patapsco Valley State Park


Patapsco Valley State Park in Ellicott City Maryland offers a wide variety of trails for mountain bikers with an estimated 35 miles of trails open to bikes. Trails provide twisty or open rocky sections. Stream crossings, log rides and some nice root sections. Trails here are considered to be steep, technical, and challenging which provides a really fun time for experienced riders. If you are walking or running these trails, there are numerous streams that you can stop to enjoy, and open fields to gallivant around all you want.

Gambril State Park


Gambrill State Park in Frederick Maryland has over 16 miles of wooded trails which open for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, with the exception of the White Oak Trail, which is restricted to hiking. All trails are day-use only. These trails are acclaimed as some of the most scenic, and fun in the Metropolitan area. Trails at Gambrill vary from moderate to strenuous. Many trails have an elevation change of several hundred feet and are very rocky, Making Mountain biking a challenge. These trails are not for novice mountain bikers.

Fairfax Cross Country Trail


Lake Fairfax Campgrounds

Lake Fairfax Campgrounds (

The Fairfax Cross County Trail runs 33 miles through Fairfax County connecting many popular parks, including Riverbend, Wakefield, Accotink and Colt’s Neck This trail consists of single-track, doubletrack, and gravel paths that is fairly level easy terrain making this a great trail for beginners, or the whole family. The southern sections of the CCT through Springfield to Fairfax City are more oriented toward asphalt and cinder surfaces with the idea to facilitate commuting. The northern sections from Oakton to Great Falls are intended to remain primarily natural surface.

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