Washington, D.C. is a great city to live in. There’s always plenty to do, and boredom is the least of your worries. Even if you’ve just moved to the country’s capital and don’t know anyone yet, you’ve still got lots of options. However, sometimes you need to get away, and these places for hiking near D.C. are the perfect remedy.

If you’re new to D.C. though, you really must explore the city as well. Hiking near D.C. is great to de-stress and take a break, but this city offers a wide range of other activities you can enjoy on the weekends.

Now, let’s take a look at some of those great places to go hiking near D.C. Some of them are actually in the city, which will make life much easier when you aren’t feeling up to traveling too far.


Rock Creek Park

One of the largest parks in Washington, D.C., Rock Creek Park is stunning. It’s made up of a series of paths that travel through various historic and natural landmarks.

There are lots of hiking options, some easier than others, so you don’t need to worry if all you want is a leisurely stroll. If you want to get a good workout in, though, then rock scrambling at Pulpit Rock will be ideal for you.

hiking near dc rock creek park

Make sure to visit some of the awesome historic sites, like Miller Cabin, the Rolling Meadow Footbridge, and the Pierce Mill gristmill. If you’re lucky to live nearby, you can enjoy a stroll through Rock Creek Park every day. In fact, it’s highly recommended because spending as little as half an hour a day in nature can do wonders for your wellbeing.

Blueground offers a variety of stunning apartments in some of the best areas in Washington, D.C. All the properties come with all the furniture and equipment you could possibly need. Plus, their website makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, like an apartment near a park.


Theodore Roosevelt Island

Another great spot for hiking in the city itself is Theodore Roosevelt Island. Located in the Potomac River, it features serene forest trails, boardwalks that cross waterways, and plenty of wildlife. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. It has a 1.6-mile trail that loops around the island and is perfect for everyone, regardless of fitness level. Theodore Roosevelt Island is an amazing place to go hiking and enjoy nature without actually having to leave the city. It’s also dog-friendly, which means you can enjoy a lovely afternoon with your pooch. It’s a great alternative to the many lovely dog parks in D.C.

So, if you’re looking for a great place for hiking near D.C. without actually having to leave the city, this is the place for you. If you have a canine companion, Theodore Roosevelt Island will soon become one of your favorite destinations.


Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

You can find a lot of beautiful waterfalls while hiking near D.C. One of the closest, and easiest to reach is in Scott’s Run Nature Preserve.

Reaching the waterfall involves an easy and short trail that winds through the forest. The trail itself is a loop that’s 2.2 miles long. There’s an easy stream crossing and there are a few gentle hills.

hiking near dc scotts run nature preserve

The preserve is dog-friendly, which is definitely another advantage. Since the trail is short and easy, it’s perfect for the whole family to enjoy a nice morning stroll in nature. In fact, it’s one of the most enjoyable opportunities for hiking near D.C., so you definitely should check it out.


Whiteoak Canyon

If you love waterfalls, then the Whiteoak Canyon Trail is perfect for you. It’s considered one of the most incredible opportunities for waterfall hiking near D.C. It’s a moderate trail spanning 7.3 miles that passes by no less than eight waterfalls.

Seeing as the Whiteoak Canyon Trail is in Shenandoah National Park, it’s close enough to D.C. to be a day trip. However, you really should make a weekend of it and check out the rest of the park too.

Thanks to the incredible waterfalls of differing sizes, you’ll have lots of photo opportunities along this trail. It’s even more stunning in fall when all the leaves have turned stunning shades of red, orange, yellow, and more.


Dark Hollow Falls

While you’re in Shenandoah National Park, you can’t miss the Dark Hollow Falls hike. It’s actually one of the most popular trails in the park. While it is quite challenging, it’s short and the reward is more than worth it. This opportunity for hiking near D.C. will have you climbing up a steep hill. At the end of it, you will discover one of the most amazing waterfalls in the whole park. It’s a giant waterfall that’s comprised of a series of smaller ones. It’s quite incredible.


Little Devil’s Stairs

Another trail in Shenandoah National Park, Little Devil’s Stairs is not for the faint of heart. It’s considered one of the most difficult trails in the park. However, don’t despair. It definitely is challenging, but also a lot of fun. Plus, the scenery will likely leave you gob-smacked.

The trail winds through streams, through waterfalls, and will have you scrambling up a few rocky passes too. It also offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which you should definitely take a moment to absorb. In the fall, the stream crossings become a little more challenging due to high water, so make sure to be extra careful.

hiking near dcLittle Devil’s Stairs trail

While the trail itself is quite short, it is tiring. So, it’s usually recommended only for experienced hikers. It’s also a good idea to take some trekking poles with you and plenty of water and snacks.

Also, remember that it’s a hiking trail and not a race. So, take your time and enjoy the scenery. If you take plenty of opportunities to rest, the trail won’t seem quite as challenging. As you gain more experience with the trail, you can speed up. On your first trek, though, you really should take the time to appreciate the beauty of the scenery.

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