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4 Cool Weather Hikes in Arlington, Virginia

Take advantage of Arlington, Virginia's easy access to the outdoors when you’re in town.

While Arlington’s known for its urban skyline and close connection to Washington, D.C., locals know Arlington has some of the best hiking trails in the area.

Let Arlington surprise you with more than 80 miles of paved—and lots more unpaved trails–making taking a woodsy scenic hike, jog or bike ride a breeze, even in cool weather.

  1. Cruise with Capital Views: Probably one of the most famous—and popular—trails in the area, the Mount Vernon Trail takes guests along the Potomac River with unobstructed views of Washington, DC. You will cruise past green spaces, old bridges and marinas. Make sure to pack a picnic and stop to watch the planes take off and land at Gravelly Point. Here you’ll find restrooms and views of the National Mall.
  2. Immerse Yourself in Nature in Theodore Roosevelt Island: To really get away from it all, follow the Potomac Heritage Trail starting at the north end of the Theodore Roosevelt Island parking lot and continue 10 miles to the American Legion Bridge. Just know that up river a couple of miles there are challenging sections as the trail narrows: Don't fall in!
Theodore Roosevelt Island

3. Enjoy Brews and Views in Shirlington: Work in some down time at a craft brewery on your trip on the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail. This scenic trail starts in the Shirlington neighborhood, and posted signs direct you to the New District Brewing Co. noting there’s water, air bike tools and restrooms.

4. Get Your Heart Rate Up on the ‘Arlington Loop’: The paved loop takes you on 16.5 miles of scenic views of the capital skyline and near Arlington restaurants, theater and shopping. It's also an ideal route for smooth bike riding. Need to rent a bike? Capital Bikeshare is always available. BikeArlington has a detailed map.


If you’re looking for longer hikes, Arlington is a great jumping off point for Great Falls and Shenandoah national parks, both gorgeous in the winter time and less crowded! You might just see some frozen waterfalls and wildlife! Experts at WalkArlington, a walking education and encouragement program, have just the path for you with their review of The Best Biking and Hiking Trails in Arlington!

On the way back, cash in on those calories you earned at any of Arlington’s diverse restaurants. Or have more outdoor fun indoors!

Author: Kathleen Murphy