Pay homage to the president who gave us our national parks and visit this wild oasis on the edge of D.C.

It seems only fitting that the president who gave us our national parks would have one all to his own. 

Located on the edge of Washington D.C., Theodore Roosevelt Island offers a glimpse of what the city may have looked like before the politicians, before the marble buildings, before the traffic-choked streets, before the city was even a city.

 Accessing the island is easy. Visitors can walk, bike, or drive. If the latter, parking is available right off the George Washington Memorial Parkway. (Note that bikes are not allowed on the island but bike racks are available beside the entrance.)

Visitors can choose to explore the Woods Trail, Upland Trail, or the Swamp Trail.  The longest trail is a one and a half mile loop that passes through swampy woods and a cattail marsh. 

While the paths at Theodore Roosevelt can hardly be considered difficult, they certainly are scenic. You'll stroll along the Potomac River -- where you may spot a duck or two-- and over boardwalks elevated above preserved wetlands. Wildflowers and cattails dot the landscape, and it's not uncommon to spot deer peeking through their waving fronds. The distant hum of Ronald Reagan airport and the eternal DC traffic, the city's constant underscore, fades beneath the thrill of cicadas and the rushing Potomac current. 

With benches dotting the trail, the island offers multiple picturesque spots to stop and read a book or to just enjoy the quiet. Trail runners and joggers often use the paths, as the gentle grade makes the island an excellent alternative to running on concrete streets. Otherwise, the trails remain relatively quiet, with only moderate traffic, as most visitors walk straight to the central monument. 

The island's monument to Theodore Roosevelt is itself a beautiful spot.  Large fountains quietly gurgle before the large statue and its surrounding monoliths. A respectful hush usually descends here as visitors sit on marble benches to enjoy the peace and quiet. It's the perfect spot to earn a quick escape from citylife and a fitting tribute to our nation's 26th president.

"The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value." - quotation engraved upon the "Nature" monolith 

Pack List

  • Tennis Shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Leash (for dogs) 
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RT Distance 2 Miles
Activities Running, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
River

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Convenient Escape From The City

Island full of nature and surrounded by water. Super convenient.

Great Local Walk

Living in an urban/suburban area it isn't easy to find a more 'natural' setting. T.R. Island gives you that in the middle of the Potomac River with Georgetown in DC on one side and Rosslyn in Arlington on the other. The parking lot is small and with it being where it is, can fill up fast on a nice weekend. All in all... A nice spot to check out in the DC area!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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. Learn More

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