Trek your way around DC with these walking paths that were (practically) made for strollers
The DC area has plenty of walking trails where you can opt outside and enjoy nature. The following places are our favorite, stroller-friendly ways for you to log some steps on the ol’ Fitbit, while bringing your baby along.
The 12 Best Stroller-Friendly Hikes near DC
1. Mount Vernon Trail
This 18-mile trail stretches from George Washington’s home to Theodore Roosevelt Island. Skip the trail nearest to the island; it’s paved in dirt, mud and rocks and isn’t suitable for strollers. Instead, opt for the section of the trail that winds through Old Town Alexandria by way of the waterfront; it’s a low-impact walk with scenic views. You’ll find a more rigorous walk as you near Mount Vernon, where you will encounter some hills.
2. Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
This path runs along both sides of the river with over 15 miles of trails to explore (most follow the water). There are plenty of places to explore along this route, but our favorite section of the path—which traverses Kenilworth Gardens—might be one of the prettiest sections. Not far from the gardens, you’ll also find 3-mile well-paved path running through Anacostia Park.
3. Hains Point
On the southern tip of East Potomac Park, a man-made island in the Potomac, you will find a 4-mile trek along the waterfront. This is a flat, easy paved trail and ideal for strollers.
4. Bethesda Trolley Trail
This paved pathway was originally used by the Rockville Railway streetcar line. It’s a quiet, 4-mile wooded path that has some inclines and elevation; perfect for those looking to challenge themselves on a strenuous walk or jog. The trail starts between Woodglen Dr. and Edson Ln. in North Bethesda and ends on Old Georgetown Rd. in Bethesda.
5. Theodore Roosevelt Island
Escape the traffic and noise of the city while in the city. This 88.5-acre island dedicated to the 26th U.S. president has easy trails you can follow to the paved Memorial Plaza, where an enormous statue of the president greets visitors. For a more ambitious undertaking, hop onto the 18-mile, paved Mount Vernon Trail, which stretches from the island to Mount Vernon, President George Washington’s home.
6. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
This National Historical Park covers 184.5 miles, some of which passes through some pretty picturesque parts of DC. The Georgetown towpath is flat and great for an easy walk or jog with a stroller.
7. Great Falls
OK, so this is still the C&O Canal, but the views are drastically different, so we are counting it twice. For strollers, stick to the wide gravel paths, but for anyone with a hankering for something more adventurous, the Billy Goat Trail has challenging rock climbs and breathtaking waterfall views.
8. Potomac Heritage Trail
If Great Falls feels like too much, head a few miles away to this 2.5-mile stroller-friendly trail at Riverbend Park. It’s a nationally recognized scenic trail that follows the Potomac, so keep those cameras handy.
9. Burke Lake Park
This park in Fairfax County was almost an airport, but neighbors fought that plan. Today, the park is home to a 4.7-mile flat trail that can be bumpy at times but easily accommodates a stroller.
10. Locust Grove Nature Center
This 1.4-mile trail is jogging stroller-friendly and passes the Cabin John Creek, a meadow and an 80-year-old sycamore tree. Watch for butterflies in the summer, box turtles in the early morning and bats in the late afternoon. The trail begins and ends at the nature center.
11. Woodend Nature Sanctuary
This 40-acre outdoor wonderland is the Audubon Naturalist Society’s headquarters. Walk the 1.1-mile trail loop, and visit the historic sites—the Woodend Mansion was designed by the same architect who did the Jefferson Memorial and National Gallery of Art.
12. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Stroll the paved trails that wind through this park’s 95 acres. Stop to check out the koi pond and the Korean Bell Garden, a handmade structure that houses a bell made in South Korea. The path is hilly, which will keep it interesting for the little ones and a workout for the grown-ups.
—Meghan Meyers and Stephanie Kanowitz