6 Tips to Take You from Mount Vernon Trail Virgin to Veteran

Hike 2: Mt. Vernon Trail, Columbia Island Marina to Theodore Roosevelt Island

The Mount Vernon Trail

Christine and RJ take a quick pause on the Mount Vernon Trail.

4 strollers: The hike can easily be done with a standard stroller.

4 out of 4 strollers: Easily done with a standard stroller.

If you live in the DC area you’ve driven on the GW Parkway – or in many cases, sat on the GW Parkway. And if you’ve been on the GW Parkway, you’ve seen gobs of people running, walking and riding on a path along side it. Have you ever wondered what that paved and beautifully groomed path is called, or how to get onto it?

Well I’m here to help! For our second hike we ventured across the water to the ‘state for lovers’ and walked from the quiet Columbia Island Marina to the sirene Theodore Roosevelt Island. Check out my tips below to learn more about this 7-mile adventure and how you can add the MVT trail as another notch in your hiking belt.

  1. Find it on the map. The Mount Vernon Trail is an 18 mile long paved open trail that follows the Potomac River directly across from the west end of DC’s National Mall.
  2. Get yourself there. If you’re going to pursue this hike, you’ll want to drive. While at first it may seem daunting to figure out where to park, knowing there’s free parking should help. You can park for free at the Columbia Island Marina (which is off of the GW Parkway heading south), or for free at Theodore Roosevelt Island (which is off of the GW Parkway heading south).
  3. Choose your distance. The trail is long so unless you plan to bike it, I’d recommend picking a shorter route. We did Columbia Island Marina to Theodore Roosevelt Island. Then we continued onto the TRI and hiked that as well – something I’d highly recommend to give you a taste of the calm, wooded hiking. Doing this loop, made our hike approximately 7 miles.
  4. Go early! I cannot stress this enough. The Mount Vernon Trail is one of DC’s most popular paths and it becomes busy quick. We went out at 9AM and by the time we were heading to the car at 11AM the foot traffic was very heavy.
  5. Wear sunscreen and bring a cover for the tiny human. The trail is great, but it has absolutely no cover so make sure to wear sunscreen and expect to keep the little one covered. Since the path is fully paved, we used the Bob and took advantage of the wind cover. He loved everything about this walk – the blue crisp skies, the vibrant flowers and of course the sound of mommy’s voice talking the week away with Christine behind him. I’m not sure what these hikes are better for: our bodies or our psyche.
  6. Do not wear headphones. This last tip is particularly important if you choose to do this hike as a parent-baby duo instead of with another adult. With so much foot traffic along the route, you’ll constantly hear “to your left” so spend the time reflecting on your thoughts, not singing along to iTunes. (The key here is that you need to be able to hear it! Regular runners and bikers on the trail mean business.)

Want more? Be sure to take a look at a few more of our pictures from the hike below and then get out there yourself!

American naturalist, explorer, and of course President Theodore Roosevelt.

American naturalist, explorer, and of course President Theodore Roosevelt.

Mount Vernon Trail

Navy-Marine Memorial along the Mount Vernon Trail

The path within Theodore Roosevelt Island.

The path within Theodore Roosevelt Island.

One thought on “6 Tips to Take You from Mount Vernon Trail Virgin to Veteran

  1. […] we get back to the starting point. Since we’ve only done about a mile, we decide to walk over to Roosevelt Island and do the loop so the morning isn’t a complete hiking […]

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