Fellow Alexandrians, it is summer again and there are now far more reasons to be outside than inside. Let’s hit the trails, walk, run, jump, explore, and make the best out of this lovely time of the year. Nature is calling! Below, we’ve made a list of the best summer trails in Alexandria.
Unsure where to go? Don’t worry; we got you covered! The trails below are just the perfect places for such liveliness. They are Alexandria’s ‘fantastic four’ when it comes to taking your hiking/jogging/biking enthusiasm to. So should you!
Let’s start with somewhere where there is everything that makes a trail brilliant for summer excursions. One of the best summer trails in Alexandria is Dora Kelley Nature Park, wihch stands out with its giant trees. It, therefore, provides hikers the most convenient path with lots of shade. That it also runs parallel to Holmes Run, a tributary flowing into the Potomac River, adds to its irresistible charm, producing scenic views besides the wildly refreshing opportunity of soaking your feet in the water. You will love it all!
If you haven’t already made up your mind and decided to go with the first suggestion, here you have a second one and it could even be better if it were bigger: Winkler Botanical Preserve. Here is a mile-long trail that goes around a picturesque pond in Alexandria. Follow it and you will cross a few bridges and also stumble upon a nice waterfall. Distinctly for summer, the extras will be a zip line and a ropes course that you and your company might equally enjoy. Because it is small, it does not attract the large crowds that most other trails do and remains underrated. Make no mistake; that is to your advantage. It will be a big reason why you will always look back to your experience here with great memories. But since the word is out now, you better hurry to collect them!
Some of you might have wondered, though, why settle for tiny creeks and ponds while we have the mighty Potomac so near? The likeminded will find just the respite that they are looking for at the Potomac Heritage Trail. It is almost completely shaded. It is longer (>10 miles). And it is easily accessible without private transportation. You can enter the trail at multiple points along the coastline between Arlington and Alexandria. You can, then, go as long as you want and leave it to reconnect with urban civilization.
Speaking of superiority by size, it, too, would have been unfair to omit Mount Vernon Trail from this Alexandria list. How could this majestic path go unrecognized with its significance for the city and its residents anyway? Running south-southwest for nearly 20 miles along the Potomac and all the way down to George Washington’s monumental estate, this trail is particularly beautiful during spring and summer. It is flat for most of its course and there often are shaded areas to cool off, too. That there are multiple restrooms and fountains makes it pleasantly possible to take on longer hikes and rides. The stunning views from on the river and the D.C. skyline remain big plusses year-round.