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Find the top rated mountain biking trails in District of Columbia, whether you're looking for an easy short mountain biking trail or a long mountain biking trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a mountain biking trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
|Trail Image||Trail Name||States||Length||Surface||Rating|
Following the Potomac River, the C&O Canal Towpath traverses the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park for 184.5 miles between Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and Cumberland, Maryland. For...
|DC, MD||184.5 mi||Brick, Concrete, Crushed Stone, Dirt||
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...
|DC||7 mi||Dirt, Gravel||
Note: This developing route is not yet fully contiguous – it is just over 50% complete. Please refer to the Trail Map for more information on the existing sections of trail, as well as the online...
|DC, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, MT, NE, OH, PA, WA, WV, WY||3743.9 mi||Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone||
We did from Cumberland to DC then from DC back to Cumberland! August 2021 hot as hades in the high 90’s and thunderstorms! Had a blast! Camped the entire way except for 1 day at motel lol needed a shower! Awesome experience with a huge tunnel that we had to walk our bikes through like a mile ! Rode all over the DC area and visited many places ! DC is very bike friendly!
They allow ebikes as long as one observes the speed limits and rides courteously. Being able to ride to the Mall in DC and back is great exercise too. Path users are courteous and the Pedego Ebike Rental Shop is great when you have guests who want to join you. Bethesda food is a nice reward after the ride too. A favorite trail!
Tranquilo y sencillo para caminar. El estar junto al río hace muy grata la caminata o paseo en bici.
Starting at Nats Park (home of the Washington Nationals), we crossed the South Capitol Street bridge via a single-lane sidewalk with high railings on both sides. (This has now been replaced by a brand spanking new bridge with white arches that can be seen throughout the city.) On the southwest side of the Anacostia River, we encountered a surprisingly pastoral riverside trail that winds past playgrounds, basketball courts and a large outdoor roller-skating pavilion on the right. On the left, we could see boats motoring past the Navy Yard high rises and riverfront cafes, then further down, small marinas tucked into the wooded shoreline. Traffic on the trail was (and is always) very light with a few walkers, a few bikers and occasionally, a few fishermen hauling their tackleboxes, fishing rods and folding chairs to the water’s edge.
The trail meanders for about five miles before the exit to Benning Road which leads back to the Navy Yard on the opposite side of the river. But we recommend continuing on the trail for another five miles through lush forests and open marshlands, along quiet “country” roads (which are surprising in Washington, DC), past neighborhoods and athletic fields, and over wooden pathways that hug the shoreline. Our turnaround point was at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park, maybe two miles over the Maryland state line. There is a water bottle filling station and restroom there – along with a Dinosaur Walk. (Who knew?)
We returned to Benning Road to cross over the river and to pick up the trail, now on the northeast side of the Anacostia River. The return ride is visually interesting, but confusing. Rule of thumb: bear left whenever presented with a choice.
Navigating the Navy Yard area can be a bit challenging as residents and tourists crowd the outdoor cafes and spill out onto the expansive promenade. This wide swath of concrete and wood extends from the base of the Naval facility to Nats Park, an approximately half-mile stroll or slow, careful bike ride, past a very popular brewery.
Most of the recent reviews are spot on. If you are used to crushed limestone or asphalt the bulk of this trail is bumpy and full of exposed rocks, ruts and tree roots. The downside is you have to keep your eyes front and center most of the time. The Paw Paw Tunnel detour is a real challenge. I only had two panniers that were not full and it was a struggle. Can’t imagine how the fully loaded bike packers did it. (But I’ve also not done any mtb, so that could affect how easy/hard it was.) But the amount of history and really cool places to stop and explore make it worth it. Beautiful aqueducts and lock houses as w.landmarks makes up fo me the trail conditions.
The Paw Paw detour due to the tunnel being closed which with talking to the construction crew, will remain closed for another 18 months (Spring ’23) but when reopened, it will have a new riding surface.
The marked detour is not like any other that I have ever experienced on a trail which normally is a divert to local roads until you can rejoin the trail. Eastbound is best described as a mountain bike trail which is narrow in sections and at a 10 to 15 percent grade with exposed roots, rock gardens (rocks vertically embedded in the trail surface) and other obstacles. With a bike loaded down with gear, it is extremely strenuous to make it to the top and over the tunnel. Just pushing your bike up and over East bound is a challenge also.
Westbound is a trail that is a large enough for a vehicle but also has 10 to 15 percent grades but has a loose surface for a majority of it.
From Cumberland to Paw Paw, the trail is need of maintenance as there is numerous hazards to include mud holes that are deep (10” to 12”), segments of large branches and this time of the year with leaves falling, they hide some of the obstacles. You must keep your eyes on the trail and not sightsee for this section of C&O.
Also, confirm your dining options along the trail as even if sites on the internet say they will be open during your visit, you may be disappointed and going hungry due to the lack of staffing.
The rest of the trail is in great condition to DC and be aware as you approach the Capitol and it is on a weekend that there will be plenty of trail traffic as they enjoy this gem in their backyard!
My aunt and I took a quick walk on this path. It’s a peaceful walk on a paved path with a burbling creek nearby. A lovely step into nature in the Cleveland Park area.
I completed this ride the first week of September, cycling from Cumberland to DC the day after Hurricane Ida passed through. The first time I have done a multi-day ride. Took the Amtrak to Cumberland with my bike and stayed at 9 Decatur (recommended). The trail was in good shape. A couple of additional puddles from the rain but very rideable. I had a great time. Four days and three nights. Rode 50/50/50 and 30 miles. Camping worked out very well at the hiker/biker sites. The only major hitch was the Pawpaw tunnel had just closed and taking a bike loaded with gear up and over is quite a slog. Hopefully some entrepreneurial locals have come up with some drive around alternatives. Unless you are a purist I recommend taking advantage if they have.
Don't expect stunning vistas but settle in to a rhythm and enjoy the history and it is a meditative and fulfilling experience.
Thanks to all the park staff who keep the park in such great shape.
We just did the entire trail from Cumberland to DC and it was awesome. Lots of cool tunnels and good bike riding when dry. We had one wet day and trail got pretty muddy near Cumberland. Interesting history along the way. This is a must do bike trail.
Nice trail, easy. worth the drive
My wife and I enjoy this well-maintained trail almost every weekend when the weather is nice. We like to drop onto the trail at different points along its 180+ mile length for variety—it’s absolutely beautiful with nature around every turn, mixed with lots of history. We recommend heading down to the Potomac River on one of the many paths to enjoy the scenery when you need a break.
Rode the trail from Harpers Ferry to Locke 8 on Tuesday, April 13th. Be aware that just east of Brunswick is a detour that crosses an ancillary canal that proved to be impassable and resulted in a 10-mile plus to detour, over road with little shoulder and hilly. Another cyclist said the area was passable as recently as the Sunday prior (4/11).
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