Washington, D.C.'s Fort Circle Park Hiker-Biker Trail links some of the District's dozens of Civil War era forts (now national parks) that were built to defend the city from attack by the southern Rebels. The trail runs for 7 miles through a heavily forested greenbelt between Fort Mahan in the north and Fort Stanton in the south. But don't let the woods fool you, this is an urban trail with several busy road crossings, and navigating the starts and stops could get tricky in places. The trail is signed in most places but it also gets overgrown in summer, and muddy after rain, so be prepared to brush through vegetation along the route.
The best way to see the trail is by guided bike tour (mountain bikes are best), offered the last Saturday every month (seasonal) with a Park Service ranger. The tours last 2 to 3 hours, covering 4 to 8 miles. Along the way, you'll learn about the history of D.C.'s forts and the Civil War. Cyclists meet at Fort Dupont's activity center. If you don't have a bike, the Park Service will provide one for you with advanced notice. In fact, it's best to call whether you bring your own bike or borrow one, to let them know you're coming: 202-426-7723.
Parking and Trail Access
The best place to park is midway along the route in Fort Dupont National Park. Take Pennsylvania Avenue SE to Minnesota Avenue SE and turn northeast. At the Randle rotary, take the 3rd exit (Ft. Dupont Dr.) and follow it to the activity center on the left. Here you can meet the tour.
If you're exploring on your own, the best place to park is off Alabama Ave. on the far eastern side of the park. To reach it from the Randle rotary, take the 2nd exit for Massachusetts Ave. SE; when you reach Alabama Ave. SE, turn left. Look for the park entrance on the left just a short distance up the road.