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The nation’s capital isn’t just the place where lobbyists and senators share happy hour and Lincoln sits atop his stone throne memorial. The urban hub is also home to an impressive network of trails for bikers and joggers. Biking in DC ranges from traversing paved trails in the city to exploring tree-lined paths outside the city. Here are four of the best bike trails in the area:
Distance: 18 miles
Ideal For: Long Distance Rides
This long trail leads from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon. Following the Potomac River, this multi-use trail offers up views of the DC skyline and access to other regional trails. If 18 miles isn’t enough of a challenge, take advantage of Mount Vernon Trail’s intersection with the Potomac Heritage, Rock Creek, Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trails and more.
Distance: 10 miles
Ideal For: Family Bike Rides
One of the best bike paths in DC for family outings is actually just north of the city near Silver Spring, MD. Sligo Creek Trail, named for a neighboring park, is entirely paved and easy to navigate. While there can be some traffic along the way during rush hour, the trail remains a good suburban path for weekend bike rides with the family. You’ll enjoy the sights and sounds of nearby woods and wildlife along the journey, which is also a good activity for a leisurely Sunday date.
Distance: 3 miles
Ideal For: Speedy Sprints
This loop is only three miles long and there are few cars to share the road with. You’ll trace the perimeter of East Potomac Park and get views of local bridges along with the river. It’s known as a good place for speed runs because the loop is so short and you don’t have to contend with traffic – you can build up your stamina with some speed runs and then take a recovery loop.
Distance: 8 miles
Ideal For: Urban Bike Adventures
You don’t have to escape the city to get in a good bike ride; why not embrace the urban landscape? The Metropolitan Branch Trail runs between Silver Spring and Union Station, winding through some of the capital’s best neighborhoods. You’ll weave through Brookland, Brightwood, and more along the way. Drink in views of local murals as you explore the city on the seat of your bike.
Washington, DC biking is as diverse as its politics and residents. Whether you want to soak up the spirit of the city with an urban ride or escape the chatter of daily life with a quiet ride through neighboring parks – there is a ride up the city’s sleeve just for you.
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