The Mount Vernon Trail in Arlington, Virginia, parallels the parkway between Theodore Roosevelt Island and Mount Vernon.
It is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Commuters may use the trail at any time.
The Mount Vernon Trail is located just across the river from downtown Washington D.C. This scenic, multi-use recreation trail is close to 18 miles long and runs alongside Potomac’s Virginia shoreline from Theodore Roosevelt Island (near Rossyln, Va) to George Washington’s Estate located at Mount Vernon.
It is popular with area cyclists, offering picturesque views of the Potomac and D.C. monuments. There are also other points-of-interest along the way such as George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, Olde Town Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetery, and the local’s favorite Gravelly Point located at the north end of National Airport’s main runway.
The trail can be somewhat tricky to follow as it passes through Alexandria, because there are two route choices both of which are on the street. The more popular way is along the waterfront via Union Street versus maneuvering through the shops and restaurants located around the King Street intersection on the other route. Both though are quite bicycle friendly.
Mount Vernon Trail is relatively flat with an occasional rolling hill here and there. However the last mile going towards Mount Vernon is a pretty good climb. Once you reach the northern end at Roosevelt Island, you can turn around and head back south, or you can cross the footbridge over the parkway which will take you west on the Custis Trail. This route will also take you to the W&OD Trail, a 45-mile long rail trail through Northern Virginia.
It’s worth noting that there are several Metrorail stations within close proximity to the trail. The most convenient stations are Rossyln near the north end, Arlington Cemetery, Reagan National Airport, and Braddock Road. This also provides a possible bail-out option, should you discover the full 36-mile round trip o be too much. Keep in mind that bikes are not permitted on the trains during weekday rush hour periods.
Other things to see and do
The 91-acre wilderness preserve has 2 1/2 miles of foot trails where you can observe a wide variety of fauna and flora. Also a 17-foot bronze statue of Roosevelt in the center of the island serves as a memorial honoring his contributions to conservation of public lands for forests, national parks, wildlife and bird refuges. Parking is limited especially on weekends.
Over 250,000 American servicemen as well as many famous Americans are buried at the 612-acre cemetery. Visitors are free to explore the grounds and guided tours are also available. A paid lot is available for parking.
The memorial is set in a lush grove of trees and 15 acres of landscaped gardens along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The memorial is easily accessable to the Mount Vernon Trail and is part of the Lady Bird Johnson Park, a tribute to the former first lady’s role in beautifying the nation and the Washington, D.C., landscape. Parking is limited.
See the trail map for restrooms, trash cans and water fountains along the trail.
Skateboards, bicycles, scooters, Segways and any other types of motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail. However individuals with disabilities may use motorized wheelchairs.
Bicycles are not permitted on the George Washington Memorial Parkway due to narrow lanes, storm drains with grates that run parallel to the roadway, blind curves and hills.
Commercial activities and activities by groups who wish to use the trail walks and runs require a permit. For information, please call 703‑289‑2513.
For a complete list of rules, please read the laws & policies.