The Mount Vernon Trail is a scenic trail that follows along the course of the Potomac River.

Sandwiched between the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the river, it stretches 18 miles beginning at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and ending at Theodore Roosevelt Island. The trail passes through Rosslyn, Old Town Alexandria and connects with many regional trails, and offers views of Washington, D.C. along the way.  It also serves as easy access to several regional trails, including Rock Creek, Four Mile Run, and Woodrow Wilson Trails. 

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at several points along the trail and can be accessed via the George Washington Memorial Parkway and stops on the Washington, D.C. Metro's Blue and Orange lines. George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, Old Town Alexandria Waterfront, and Theodore Roosevelt Island have ample parking and serve as primary access points to the trail. Limited parking is available from the parkway at many of the parks.

Getting Around

There are several methods for traveling the 18 mile stretch of trail. The Mount Vernon Trail is paved and is great for running, cycling, leisurely walks, and is dog-friendly (leashed pets). 

Don't have a bike? Bike and Roll now offers bike rentals at the Alexandria, VA Waterfront, on One Wales Alley.

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George Washington's Mount Vernon

Situated at mile marker 0 of the Mount Vernon Trail, Washington's estate is one of the most iconic 18th-century estates in America.

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Riverside Park

Culpeper's 1674 grant describes the land as being between two waterways, Dogue Run and Little Hunting Creek, helping define the small Potomac peninsula that his land lay upon.

Culpeper's 1674 grant describes the land as being between two waterways, Dogue Run and Little Hunting Creek, helping define the small Potomac peninsula that his land lay upon.

1.3 miles to Mount Vernon

Accessible from the Mount Vernon Trail and the GW Parkway, this park offers picnic and fishing areas and expansive views of the Potomac. Its watershed is a great source of geological and ecological preservation. The area also provides opportunities to observe migratory and native wildlife, such as osprey and various songbirds.

Little Hunting Creek runs through the Riverside Park and is rich in history. It was once a part of George Washington's expansive plantation. In 1760, Washington made his largest single addition to his plantation when he purchased a sizable tract on the opposite bank of Little Hunting Creek from William Clifton. 

Learn About Washington's Land

A Plan of my farm on Little Huntg. Creek & Potmk. R.

— George Washington, 1776

Fort Hunt Park

Symmetrical row of tents on a flat, open field beside the Potomac River. During the second Bonus March in 1933, a temporary encampment was set up on the old parade ground at Fort Hunt beside the Potomac River as WWI veterans came to Washington to demand payment of the bonuses for their wartime service. The marches were the result of a national period of economic suffering. NPS/Museum Resource Center

Symmetrical row of tents on a flat, open field beside the Potomac River. During the second Bonus March in 1933, a temporary encampment was set up on the old parade ground at Fort Hunt beside the Potomac River as WWI veterans came to Washington to demand payment of the bonuses for their wartime service. The marches were the result of a national period of economic suffering. NPS/Museum Resource Center

3.0 miles to Mount Vernon

Fort Hunt Park is two miles from Mount Vernon and lies on what used to be farmland belonging to George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. The area has undergone several changes since the Washington's owned the land, gun batteries built for use during the Spanish American War and later used during World War II still exist, but are closed to the public.

Today, the area is a recreational mixture of fields and forests, with shade pavilions, picnic areas, playgrounds, and softball diamonds. 

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Dyke Marsh

Dyke Marsh is a freshwater tidal basin and wildlife preserve with 3/4 mile of boardwalk over the marsh, leading to viewing platforms and beach access to explore by boat. As one of the largest wetlands remaining in the Washington, D.C. area, the marsh harbors many native birds and other wildlife the you might catch a glimpse of, and beautiful views of the Potomac. (6.8 miles to Mount Vernon)

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Jones Point Park and Lighthouse

Jones Point Lighthouse Architectual Drawing, South Elevation - Library of Congress

Jones Point Lighthouse Architectual Drawing, South Elevation - Library of Congress

Wikimedia

Wikimedia

9.5 miles to Mount Vernon

Jones Point Lighthouse is one of the last river lighthouses of its kind remaining in the United States. The small, four room, one-story house was built in 1855 and operated from 1856 to 1926. With its beacon lit 24 hours a day, it supported shipping industries of Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

The house also served as a shelter for the keepers and their families. At one point in time, keeper Benjamin Greenwood lived in the house with his wife and 14 children. Up until 1926, the lighthouse was used to warn approaching ships of dangerous shifting sandbars along the Potomac. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) maintained the structure after it was decommissioned, and later the National Park Service took over.

Leading up until the Civil War, Alexandria was originally a part of the District. A marker on the site indicates the extent of the Washington D.C. boundary with Virginia at the time. 

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The Waterfront in Old Town Alexandria

Flicker: https://flic.kr/p/o61SKJ

Flicker: https://flic.kr/p/o61SKJ

10.5 miles to Mount Vernon

The Mount Vernon Trail passes through Alexandria, with views from the docks across the Potomac River. There are many things to do along this historic waterfront including dining dockside, browsing boutique shops, exploring the parks, and the famous Torpedo Art Factory. 

Alexandria was the nearest large city to Mount Vernon in the 1800s, a growing port for shipping, and frequented not only by George Washington but also George Mason and Robert E. Lee. The city is filled with historic buildings including Christ Church and Gadsby's Tavern. 

Waterfront Activities

Woodrow Wilson Bridge and National Harbor

Wikimedia

Wikimedia

11 miles to Mount Vernon

The Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge is accessible from the Mount Vernon Trail and spans the Potomac River between Alexandria, VA and Oxen Hill, MD. The bridge was named after the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, on the 100th anniversary for his birth.

The bridge has a paved trail that follows its north side, connecting to the National Harbor in Maryland. The path is wide and sheltered from traffic and has viewing scopes and benches along the way. At the National Harbor, there are shops, restaurants, entertainment and seasonal activities throughout the year by the waterfront, and The Gaylord Resort with its spectacular atrium.

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Gravelly Point

15.7 miles to Mount Vernon

Passing through Gravelly Point by way of the Mount Vernon Trail, visitors can take in panoramic views of the Potomac, Washington Monument and nearby Ronald Regan National Airport. Just a few hundred feet from the airport, get an up close view of thunderous jets passing overhead as they make their final approach or take off, depending on the direction of wind that day. 

This is the perfect location for aviation enthusiasts to do some plane spotting and locals to enjoy the grassy park for picnics and to take in the excitement. 

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Arlington National Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

18 miles to Mount Vernon

Arlington National Cemetery lies on 624 acres and is considered the Nation's most hallowed grounds. The cemetery was created from estate land from Arlington House, belonging to Mary Anna Custis Lee (great-granddaughter of Martha Washington) and her husband General Robert E. Lee. Hundreds of soldiers and many notable figures are buried here.

The grounds are also home to several memorials including, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, USS Maine Mast Memorial, The Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial, The Lockerbie Cairn, Commonwealth Cross of Sacrifice, and the Laos Memorial. 

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"It is true of the Nation, as of the individual, that the greatest doer must also be a great dreamer."

—Theodore Roosevelt, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt Island

18.5 miles to Mount Vernon

Theodore Roosevelt Island is an 88.5-acre national memorial, with 2 1/2 miles of trails and a Memorial Plaza. It's accessible by a footbridge along the bank of the river and is located is at the end of the 18 mile Mount Vernon Trail.

The island has served several different purposes up until the 1930s when the island was transformed into a memorial to honor the 26th president of the United States. As a lifelong naturalist and passionate about conservation, Roosevelt took action to preserve over 230 million acres of land by establishing many of our wildlife reserves, game preserves, and National Parks, including Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.   

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Mount Vernon Trail Map

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