Escape the city with walking trails to get you out and about in DC

Three destinations relatively close to campus, making for a nice weekend outing

Escape the city with walking trails to get you out and about in DC
Little Falls Stream Valley Park.

There is no question that D.C. is a gorgeous city. The multitude of historical locales around the District make for interesting travels and a myriad of ways to fill your free time. But when the bustle of the city becomes too overbearing, or perhaps because your favorite museums are closed due to the coronavirus, you may be looking to retreat to a more rural location. If that sounds like you, consider checking out these three great locations to go on a hike.

Rock Creek Park 

One of the most well-known parks in the District, Rock Creek Park, is just a 30-minute walk from Tenleytown. The park spans 1,754 acres, making it a great choice for those looking to make a full day trip of their outdoor excursion. 

As the creek runs through the park, it is a great location for those looking to have an auditory experience. Even if you visit during the winter, when the water freezes, the snowy landscape will make this park appear like a scene out of The Chronicles of Narnia.”

On top of this beautiful scenery, multiple seating areas line the trail, allowing for picnicking and resting. And while it is currently closed due to maintenance, the park also offers free tickets to their planetarium.

Whitehaven Trail/Dumbarton Oaks Park 

The Whitehaven Trail, connected to the Dumbarton Oaks Park, is a more secluded journey, about a 20-minute bus ride from Tenleytown. Situated in Georgetown, this trail is more suitable for those looking to venture off the beaten path, as it is not nearly as frequented as Rock Creek Park.

With generally well-marked trails, this walk provides lovely views of dense wildlife. It also features some interesting structures, such as a tree-stump seating area. The Dumbarton Oaks estate, which is right off the park, is a bounty of scenic, historic beauty. Though it is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, it does typically require payment for admission. Admission is free in the winter.

Because of its convenient location, multiple eateries can be found not far from the entrance of the park. For those looking to make their hike a quick venture during an otherwise eventful day, Whitehaven Trail and Dumbarton Oaks is a great choice. 

Little Falls Stream Valley Park 

If you’re looking to entirely leave the District, Little Falls Stream Valley is the park for you. A 30-minute bus ride and walk from campus in Bethesda, this picturesque walk is a good casual outing for a low-key day. While a bit steep, the trail is relatively short, providing for a less intense physical experience. 

Be sure to check out the bridge lining the stream, as the water cascading over the rocks is not a sight to be missed. 

The natural ambience of any of these parks proves a nice contrast to the busyness of city life. No matter which path you take, the outdoors can provide you with some relief from the digital world that we are currently living in.

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