The Best Biking and Hiking Trails in Arlington

jonathan bollhoefer
Jonathan Boldes Tweet us @jonboldes @jonboldes July 6, 2016 2 Comments

Jonathan Boldes is a former Business Development Manager at Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) and has been living car-free since 2011. He often rides his bike 4 miles to work but also utilizes various buses and the Metro. This blog was originally written and published for ATP.

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You don’t have to travel all the way to Shenandoah for scenic hikes and bike rides, there are plenty of options right here in Arlington.

Arlington is lucky enough to be home to more than 80 miles of paved and even more unpaved trails. You’ll find bikers, joggers and walkers taking advantage of the trail network every single day. Below we’ve highlighted some of our favorite that we definitely recommend you try for your commute or just for fun!

The Arlington Loop

The “Arlington Loop” is a combination of multiple bike trails that travels around most of Arlington County. The full loop takes you on 16.5 miles of gorgeous scenery and smooth riding. The loop consists almost entirely of paved bike trails that are separated from traffic with many traveling into secluded locations, ideal for relaxing along the way. Our friends over at BikeArlington have an awesome detailed map you can check out.

Theodore Roosevelt Island

While the island is not technically in Arlington, the bridge leading to this pedestrian paradise (with no cars or bikes) is located just outside Rosslyn. There is a large bike rack hanging out next to the bridge that leads to the island so you can make your way on two wheels before trekking across the Potomac. You’ll be welcomed with a secluded feeling as you take in the sights and make sure to stop by the large statue of Teddy himself!

Wooden boardwalks on the Mount Vernon Trail near Roosevelt Island.

The W&OD Trail

The Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail  begins in Shirlington and snakes its way 45 miles out to Purcellville, Virginia. While that distance may be a bit too far for some, you can certainly ride the trail as far as you like before turning around. The fantastic views of nature along the trail will seem out of place this close to the District and you’ll soon forget where you are. If you want to stick to Arlington, stop off near Carlin Springs and enjoy a picnic. We won’t judge if you also take a peek at all the furry friends running around the nearby Glencarlyn Dog Park.

Mount Vernon Trail (near Gravelly Point Park)

While exploring the “Arlington Loop” you will stumble upon the vast green expanse that is Gravelly Point Park. The park consists of a huge field, where locals play intramural sports, and picnic tables for those relaxing and having fun with family. We strongly recommend you set down your bike or take a load off from your jog to watch as planes from nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport take off and land. It’s basically DC’s mini-version of Maho Beach.

Gravelly Point

Which one will you try this weekend?

Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/

  • Henry says:


    To truly “get away” on a hike, I recommend the Potomac Heritage Trail which starts at the north end of the Roosevelt Island parking lot and continues 10 miles up to the American Legion Bridge. It’s some of the best views of the river that most Washingtonians never see.

    • Jonathan says:

      I had originally planned to add the Potomac Heritage Trail to the list, I’ll have to consider writing something up and updating the list. Thanks Henry!


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