The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail provides a superb link between Alexandria, VA, and Maryland's National Harbor over the Potomac River. This well-used trail crosses on the up-river side of the bridge and the concrete path is wide enough to accommodate many users. There are stations ("bump-outs") with viewing scopes along the drawbridge, and a high, plexiglass wall on a portion of the trail provides a noise barrier from the heavy traffic.
A nicely developed and landscaped park has been created on the flyover, which takes you across I-495. There are benches and some interesting pavers with carved glyphs of the fish species found in the Potomac River. At National Harbor, you'll find plenty of shops, restaurants, harbor entertainment during summer and the striking Gaylord Resort. It's marvelous atrium makes for a nice visit.
On the Virginia side the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail meets up with the Mount Vernon Trail
at the George Washington Parkway/Rt. 400.
Cyclists note the 10-MPH speed limit on the trail, which is also a good idea because of the bridge's many steel joints that can damage bike tires and rims at high speeds. Also, because the trail is heavily used by many pedestrians, cyclists should slow down and give way to slower traffic.
The trail is closed between midnight and 5:30 a.m. In addition, it's a drawbridge and may open periodically, so pay attention to warning lights and bells.
Access the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail in Alexandria along the George Washington Parkway just south of Church Street. Parking is available in Old Town Alexandria in various paid lots and garages. You will have to walk or cycle to the bridge; you can use the Mount Vernon Trail.
To get to National Harbor on the Maryland side of the trail, follow the signs to National Harbor from I-495/95 and I-295 (from DC). Paid parking is available at the harbor but it gets crowded in summer. The path begins along the water toward the bridge and starts out as crushed shells for a short distance.