Take a Hike! The District’s Most Baby-Friendly Trails

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Hiking is an excellent way to bond as a family. You can’t start ‘em too young either. No matter how little your little ones are you can face challenges, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, and create small teachable moments. Hikes help us gain connection with one another in a way that lasts long after the hike is over. The DMV is full of fabulous baby-friendly trails to explore, too.

Photo: frances1972 via flickr

Theodore Roosevelt Island
This historic park has a stunning two-mile loop that can be walked or done with a jogging stroller. Take in wetlands or forest views and get the best of both natural worlds at this living memorial to the outdoor-loving father and President. Teddy would be proud and probably enjoy the D.C. skyline views that also grace this path. Venture beyond the loop and take in the many educational markers that dot the landscape on this many acre park.

Open: Daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Cost: Free
George Washington Memorial Pkwy.
Northbound lanes between Roosevelt Bridge and Key Bridge (Arlington, Va)
Online: nps.gov/this

Sugarloaf Mountain
Strap on that front or back baby carrier and tuck the wee one inside it for this hike. It is sure to reward your entire family with an expansive view. This two-mile loop is an easy ascend for all ages (no strollers though) up Sugarloaf Mountain. The uphill climb takes you through beautiful woods to reveal McCormack Overlook and the summit of Sugarloaf.

Open: Daily 8 a.m.-one hour before dusk
Cost: Free
7901 Comus Rd. (Dickerson, Md)
Online: sugarloafmd.com

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
More is more as well as being full of wonder and gorgeous spring color when it comes to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. A bit of a different hike and a great way for young families to explore getting outdoors this 45-pond site is loaded with lilies and lotus flowers from all around the world. Bambinos and little ones alike will delight in the aquatic animals like frogs, turtles and a muskrat or two. Kenilworth is an easy one and a quarter mile hike that is not just Instagram worthy but perfect for new families.

Open: Apr.-Oct., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Nov.-Apr., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Fee: Free
Online: nps.gov/kegg
1550 Anacostia Ave., NE

Burke Lake Park
If you are feeling adventurous and want to take in a hike and the sights then visit Burke Lake Park and its five-mile trail. The dirt and stone paved paths offer water views from a dam to a marina throughout the trek. There are ample camp bathrooms, places to stop and rest and a playground or two to spend some non-hiking time. When the weather turns warm tiny ones will squeal with joy at the carousel and tiny steam engine that run along part of the trail. Treat the whole family to an ice cream before you head home from this successful family fun time.

Open: Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily; Labor Day-Memorial Day, weekends only
Cost: Free weekdays for everyone; $10 per car fee on weekends for non-Fairfax county residents.
7315 Ox Rd. (Fairfax Station, Va)
Online: fairfaxcounty.gov

Do you hike with your baby? Tell us where in the comments below. 

—Victoria Mason