Home Base Tourist: Mt. Vernon Trail
Whether you're a local or you're staying in the area, each week we'll feature day trip ideas starting in the region
As a dedicated explorer and newer resident, I have spent the last year taking day trips all around the region and exploring what the area has to offer with a fresh perspective. With rising gas prices looming over traditional summer adventures, a local trip can be the perfect mini-break the habitual vacationer needs that won't break the bank.
The Mount Vernon Trail travels through our area and just happens to leads cyclists to two of the most historic parts of the region. Idyllic Mount Vernon at the south end features stunning grounds and family friendly activities, while the north end of the trail leads riders into downtown Washington, D.C. and gives an amazing view of the monuments along the Potomac.
The trail is nearly eighteen miles long and, for the most part, is a gentle ride over sloping hills. The last mile before Mt. Vernon can be quite a challenge uphill, but a walk feels great after a long ride.
Riders have the option of stopping along the way at the Arlington Cemetery, Old Town Alexandria, Belle Haven and Gravelly Point, and several Metro stations are along the way in case you’re not quite in the shape you thought you were.
If you want a longer trip, both Huntley Meadows and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail can be found with a little bit of navigation. Cyclists can explore acres of Huntley’s nature reserve or access miles of Northern Virginian trail.
Consider your ride a short trip and treat yourself and your family to a picnic lunch along the way. The area surrounding Mount Vernon is ideal for breaks on the grass, and Fort Hunt National Park has picnic tables for riders without a blanket.
Local bike shop Spokes, Etc is a great place to purchase a new bicycle from experts, or the less dedicated explorer can rent bikes in near-by Old Town at Big Wheel Bikes or Bike and Roll. Order one online, check the classifieds or visit a local retailer, but a bike is a great way to adventure outside without leaving your backyard.