Hike Theodore Roosevelt Island

2 miles  - Loop Trail

Added by Abigail Hobbs

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 

Read More


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥇Top Contributor

about 1 month ago

Convenient for a breath of fresh air

Since this is right smack dab in the middle of Arlington and DC, its a great little getaway thats a short drive, walk, or bike ride away. As mentioned before, the parking here fills up very fast, so arrive early if you plan on spending a couple hours on the island or walking the Mt. Vernon Trail.

🥈 Contributor

about 1 month ago

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, especially if you take your four legged friend along!

Convenient Escape From The City

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

Stay Nearby

Washington, Virginia

Parkway Drive Volleyball Courts

Overview The Parkway Drive Volleyball courts are located along the Potomac River, northwest of the Lincoln Memorial. The Parkway Drive Volleyball Courts are the only public courts within the memori...

Washington, District of Columbia

Hains Point Picnic Area (East Potomac Park)

Overview Hains Point Picnic Areas are located in East Potomac Park. Reservations for picnic areas (A, B, C, D) are required seven days a week (Sunday through Saturday) all year-round. Recreation H...

Washington, District of Columbia

Rock Creek Park Group Picnic Areas

Overview Eight group picnic areas in Rock Creek Park are available for advance reservation from May through October. These picnic areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis from Novemb...

Washington, District of Columbia

Fort Dupont Park Picnic Areas

Overview Fort Dupont Park has three picnic areas that can be reserved for use by groups from spring to fall each year. There are also picnic areas available on a first-come, first-served basis. R...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike the Potomac Heritage Trail to Chain Bridge

    Hike the Potomac Heritage Trail through forest, hill and valley landscapes, as you follow along the river, itself. Starting at Roosevelt Island, you can hike as far as 8.4 miles roundtrip to Chain Bridge, with great views along the way. Make sure ...

    8.4 miles 300 ft gain

  • Bike the Mt. Vernon Trail

    Start your ride at the Teddy Roosevelt Island parking area and head southbound towards Mt. Vernon. You'll be riding next to the Potomac the entire time, with great views of the National Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the Memor...

    14 miles

  • Hike the C&O Canal Towpath: Carderock to Great Falls

    Park on the road adjacent to the canal as indicated on the map (see below). This is a popular trail which is dog friendly and accessible year-round. 

    6.28 miles 141 ft gain

  • Visit the National Mall in Washington D.C.

    Everyone has so many things on their plates these days that take all their time up. It is hard to get away for adventures or to experience new things. The National Mall in Washington D.C. is within an hour from millions of people on the East Coast...

    7 miles