Washington, D.C. is a sprawling city, but just outside of the city there are beautiful mountains and views that are must sees. Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia provide the hiking trails you are looking for. You can find great hikes in the previous article “Best Hiking Trails In The Washington DC Area.” But these are the best places to hike with your family.
7700 Bull Run Drive
Centreville, VA 20121
The Bull Run-Occoquan Trail is a moderate 17-mile trail that is ideal for families. As part of the Bull Run Regional Park, the hiking trail is one of the fun activities for families in the park. Including a water park and camping grounds. On the trail you will be surrounded by 4,000 acres of beautiful woods, possibly see horses while others are taking the equestrian trail, and come across the natural beauty of nature. Because of the nature of the trail, the National Park Service suggests you pack appropriate amounts of water and food. Safely bond with nature and family.
11950 Clopper Rd.
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Seneca Creek Park is home to a 90-acre Lake, 14 miles of scenery, 12 miles of mountain biking and 16.5 miles of the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail. This gives your family multiple options of how you want to spend your day at the park. For families of less experienced hikers, the Schaeffer Farm Trail would be the best option. For families with more experienced hikers, the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail offers a more challenging hike that goes all around the creek. Save some time to stop at Clopper Lake and have a picnic.
South Mountain State Park
21843 National Pike
Boonsboro, MD 21713
Hiking can be a great source of exercise, sight seeing and team building event. But the odds are you and your family are not looking to hike 2,168 miles on your hiking trip. Established in 1937, the Appalachian Trial spans multiple states from Georgia to Maine, with nearly 40 of those miles in Maryland. Some hikers set out for months to hike the entire trail, but your family can take a day and hike some of the easier trails in the area. Try the hike to Annapolis Rock with a view of Greenbrier Lake and Cumberland Valley. Maybe one day you will build up to hiking the whole thing.
Related: Best Small Parks In D.C.
Rock Creek Park
3545 Williamsburg Lane N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
The most obvious choice for a local hike would be Washington, D.C.’s own Rock Creek Park. Located in the heart of the city, the park’s history dates back to the 1600s, and was involved in the Civil War. Now, it is much more than it was, becoming a symbol and umbrella park for several landmarks in the city. For hiking, the park acts as a beautiful backdrop with wildlife, waterways and the plant life. Hike the two main trails, Western Ridge Trail and Valley Trail, as well as the smaller connecting trails for a total 32 miles. Enjoy a hike at a nationally known local favorite.
The C&O Canal
11710 MacArthur Blvd.
Potomac, MD 20854
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, referred to as The C&O Canal, was originally the Patowmack Canal. It was envisioned as a way to connect the east with the west, in order to bring in goods and business. Today, the canal is a historic landmark of the incredible hard work it took to build the canal, the prosperity it brought in to the city, and all the people involved. When you and your family are ready for a historic hike, the park offers a variety of trails for all skill levels. Start with one of the easy trails like Rockwood Spur, and eventually maybe the whole family can make it to the difficult Billy Goat A trail.
Folashade Oyegbola is a freelance writer covering all things D.C. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.