- Find a Trail
- My TrailLink
- Explore Trails
- About Us
- Get Involved
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|
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (a.k.a. C&O Canal Towpath) follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles between Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and Cumberland, Maryland....
|DC, MD||184.5 mi||Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel||
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||
My wife and I wanted to find a fairly easy, scenic ride and that's what this was. We used public parking near the stadium, went to the water and headed North. It's easy to find the trail from there, but it's kind of weird riding on the sidewalks initially. After the first section you have a long, "walk the bike" section in front of Navy Yard.
After that the original trail is closed so you have to go left at ML King Ave, up to Water Street and the right to follow Water. The trail shares the road for a bit, but it has very little traffic.
We then rode up just past the DC United stadium. This has some nice shady areas and places to pull off. You can go up farther and cross the river, but we turned back and crossed at the Sousa bridge and went South on the other side. There are restrooms available in the Anacostia Fields section of the park. This part of the ride is very sunny.
We continued to the Frederick Douglas Bridge and crossed back over the the stadium. The trail maps don't show a connection, but if you come off the bridge and go right on Potomac Ave, you will be right back where we started.
A friend and I just recently finished this trail. It was an amazing ride with plenty to see along the route. The trail was very well maintained with the grass having been recently mowed and some sections of the trail having been repaved.
We completed this trail in 4 days going from Cumberland to DC; I was quite surprised at how empty the trail was, so if you want a nice peaceful ride and learn some historic facts about the area this is a great trail for you. There are plenty of free camping spots along the route as well as port-a-potties (not the best well kept many had wasp nests inside). Also their are water pumps along the route to stop and refill so you do not need to carry too much water.
We stopped at Harpers Ferry and were told by at least 3 park rangers that all you have to do is put your bikes on the bus at the Visitors Center ...cross the bridge and get on the trail. None of those people told us that when you cross the bridge there is a spiral staircase and about 40 metal stairs you have to carry your bike down to get on the trail. It was not fun and very dangerous. Luckily a few nice strong young men carried our bikes. The trail at the bottom of the stairs was nice, but very muddy. All I could think of was how are we gonna get our bikes back up the stairs. When I mentioned this to the business owners in Harpers Ferry, they all said yes, you need to complain to the park service. No where on any of the trail information is this problem listed.
This is an absolutely beautiful trail with lots of nature and serene sideways along its path.
I went on a 11 mile run through swains lock and it was so fun, you would occasionally see other runners but not too much. I also enjoyed the scenery around me. It is mostly dried dirt but has some mud. Really great if you are going with family members.
It is a shame to bike 185 miles and not find Mile Zero and the River Lock in Georgetown. When biking the towpath when I meet thru bikers I offer the following advice. At Fletchers Boat House mile 3 switch from Towpath to Capital Crescent Trail. (Old RR) This takes you into Georgetown on K street under the overhead highway. Go to the end just before Rock Creek and go around the last building on your right (Georgetown Univ. boat house) and walk around to your left down stream and there is the river lock and ground zero. Youker
History, engineering, and (often) mud.
Great fall colors in October, amazing canal engineering, and civil war hisory thrown in for good measure. Tow path drains poorly, so be ready for mud if it has rained recently. Lots of hiker biker campsites every 10 miles or so, but be aware some are near the busy mainline railroad tracks.
I was concerned about using a two-wheeled trailer on the sometimes double track path, but no serious problems.
Easy to connect to GAP in Cumberland, MD and ride on to Pittsburgh.
I loved this trail. I was surprised that there were so many people riding it--especially from DC to Pittsburgh or vice versa. The scenery is terrific. My only complaint--the riding surface is very uneven, and between Cumberland and Hancock--very muddy with many puddles even 4-5 days after rain had fallen. It's not easy, but it's worth it in the end. But compared to the best parts of the GAP trail, the surface leaves a lot to be desired. Glad I did it however.
Cumberland MD to D.C. It rained but enjoyed it. Will do it again.
I rented a brand new Cannondale mountain bike with front suspensions and disc brakes from Cumberland Trail Connection and set off towards Washington DC. The bucolic views of the farms, and lock houses was thrilling. But after a few hours, all I could think about was the next rest stop - a latrine with water pump. Not used to the weight and the drag of a mountain bike, especially with on a muddy trail, I finally succumbed after 24 miles and headed back. Luckily at Old Town (mile 167) there was an outdoor festival with barbeque and music where I wolfed down lunch in a flash. I admire people who can make all 185 miles to Washington.
My friend and I rode the GAP trail last year. So we decided to do the C&O trail over the Memorial Day weekend. We both agree that the C&O is overall more scenic than the GAP.
The most important decision to make is what type of bike to ride. The trail was mostly dry but there were many muddy spots. I rode a hybrid with 33mm knobby tires. I was able to ride with minimal fishtailing. My friend rode her road bike with 28mm knobby tires. As she is a seasoned and intrepid cyclist, it was fine. However, she fishtailed more than I did. I would definitely recommend wider knobby tires for cyclists who are less experienced. We were not overloaded with panniers and racks on our bikes. If you ride with a lot of equipment, wider tires are highly recommended.
Cumberland to Williamsport (first day)- The highlights are the Paw Paw Tunnel (have a light as the tunnel is very dark with an undulating surface) and the area around Dam 5. If you need food along the way, there's a town called Little Orleans with Bill's Bar where they have a very limited pub grub menu. It's located out of the Fifteenmile Creek campground. We stayed overnight at the Red Roof Inn, which is about a mile uphill (ugh) from the Williamsport Visitors Center. It's the only place near there. I suggest you book ahead of time. If you have AAA, make sure you carry your membership card in your pack. They won't honor it if you don't have your card.
Williamsport to Point of Rocks (second day)- This is the most picturesque part of the trail. Particularly beautiful are the miles right along the Potomac on the boardwalk and the area around Dam 4. We stayed overnight at the rustic Lockhouse 28. This lockhouse is rustic, in that it has no electricity or water. It was an experience. The major downside of it is its proximity to the railroad tracks. There were trains screeching throughout the night (think Freddy Krueger's claws). It was an experience and I'm happy to have done it.
Point of Rocks to D.C. (last day)- The very small town of Point of Rocks has a deli (not open on Sunday morning) and a gas station store a short distance from the trail. They can be accessed from the Point of Rocks parking lot. It also has one of the most photographed train stations in the country. This is the most wild or ungroomed part of the trail. The highlight of this area is Great Falls. However, it's the most crowded. There's a very short trail after you pass the Visitors Center that allows you to see the Falls from the bridge. There are also some lovely spots along the canal in this area. We were not able to find the exact end of the trail in D.C. The signage near the end wasn't good. However, we ended up not far from our hotel, the Georgetown Marriot. We had no problems with bringing our bikes to our room. The beds were comfortable and the service great - a nice reward at the end of an amazing journey.
Takes you away from the city life around and suburbia. What a wonderful escape. Although now threatened to become the Purple line for the metro.
TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (a non-profit) and we need your support!