Arlington, Virginia's Top 4 Basecamps For Hikers
You may be surprised by the amazing hiking in Virgina.
Arlington, Virginia has a lot more to offer than government buildings! With miles of trails and parks scattered across northern Virginia, travelers looking to get away from the urban jungle of D.C. have a variety of trekking options. We found four places in and around Arlington where aspiring hikers can discover that Virginia is truly for (nature) lovers!
Photo: Christin Healey
A great option for families, Potomac Overlook Regional Park boasts wellmaintained trails, averaging 2 miles each, known for their pleasant woodland environment and perfect for an easy stroll. Hikers can also unwind by checking out the park’s nature center and outdoor summer concert series, all while enjoying a picnic. The Key Bridge Marriott is a less than 10 minute drive from the park, and provides comfort and convenience at a hardtobeat price.
Another great option for hikers looking for a slower pace, the beautiful and secluded Glencarlyn Park’s nearly 100 acres feature picnic shelters, fishing, and nature trails, like the Four Mile Run, perfect for a stroll. A bonus for those wishing to bring along a furry friend Glencarlyn boasts a wellloved dog park! Conveniently located 5 minutes away by car, the Comfort Inn Arlington Boulevard is the perfect place to unwind after a day spent exploring Glencarlyn.
For more experienced hikers, the Martha Custis Trail, a 4 mile “pointtopoint” trail (one designed to be walked from one point to another) is located near Arlington and rated as difficult due to its hilly vistas. The trail is accessible yearround and connects to the Key Bridge into Georgetown and to the Mount Vernon Trail. Those wishing to stay as close as possible to the Custis trail should look no further than the Westin Arlington Gateway, which is just a 5 minute drive, or a 25 minute walk, away. The Westin Arlington Gateway is also conveniently located within two blocks of the Ballston Metro Station, for those wishing to venture into nearby Washington, D.C.
Running from D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood all the way to Point of Rocks, Maryland for a whopping 185 miles, the C&O Canal Towpath trail is a must for history buffs with a taste for the outdoors. Those looking to stay overnight during their hike have 30 campgrounds, located along the entire length of the trail, to choose from, all of which are free and operating on a firstcome-first served basis. There are also restored “lockhouses,” for interested lodgers, which were originally used to house employees of the canal. The Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge is just a five minute drive from the Georgetown portion of the trail, which features historic barge rides along the canal.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.