Potomac Heritage Trail

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Trail Distance: 5 miles
Time Estimate: 2 hr 10 min
Elevation Gain: 150 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Easy
Parking: Free
Route Type: Point-to-point
Restroom: Yes
Description
The dog-friendly Potomac Heritage Trail is part of a National Park System network known as the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail system. The 11 trails making up the network stretch from DC through Maryland, and Virginia to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Potomac Heritage Trail/GW Parkway follows a path sandwiched between the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the River.

The trailhead for the Potomac Heritage Trail is found at the parking area for the Theodore Roosevelt Island, with the endpoint at the Scotts Run Nature Preserve. In a couple of places, the trail runs close to the road, separated from speeding vehicles by a short stone wall and grassy greenway. Most of the trail is set a distance below the parkway shielded by dense forest trees and rushing waterfalls, which nicely mute the auto sounds. 

Your fur-baby will find this trail furscinating! Many squirrels rustle and chatter among the tree branches and undergrowth, and birds like cardinals, robins and blackbirds call from far above. An occasional deer will make its presence known, as will non-venomous snakes. In the spring and summer, wildflowers gild the pathway and under the trees, and in fall and winter, the trees bared of their leaves, furtastic views of the Potomac are captivating!

A pawrfect spot to stop for a snack or picnic is at Turkey Run Park which features single and group picnic areas, and the trail makes it easy to diverge onto another historic trail or into a park along the way. Views across the river include the Georgetown skyline with the National Cathedral prominent, as well as the Francis Scott Key bridge with its many arches. Thirty and forty-foot waterfalls command your attention and provide a spot for your doggo to take a refreshing drink and maybe a splash, too! A couple of sets of wooden steps assist in some of the climbs to the bluffs over the river, and one particularly rugged spot has had a metal handrail installed. 

Be sure to keep your pup leashed, and bring water to share, and clean up bags for the journey.

Whether you live in the DC Metro area or are visiting the nation's capital, the Potomac Heritage Trail is a fine way to enjoy a broader view of the city while marveling at the almost wilderness nature of the hike!

Trail Features
Rocky, Steep Inclines, Forest, River, Diverse Landscape, Urban
Abundant Wildlife, Wildflowers, Waterfall, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
There are several spots on this trail where you'll find rugged, rocky terrain requiring climbing and scrambling. Assess whether your fur-pup can manage these sections. Be sure you have well-made, sturdy hiking boots as well. Consider climbing gloves.
Address
700 George Washington Memorial Pkwy
Washington, DC 22209
Hours
Mon Open 24 Hours
Tue Open 24 Hours
Wed Open 24 Hours
Thu Open 24 Hours
Fri Open 24 Hours
Sat Open 24 Hours
Sun Open 24 Hours
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Address
700 George Washington Memorial Pkwy
Washington, DC 22209
Hours
Mon Open 24 Hours
Tue Open 24 Hours
Wed Open 24 Hours
Thu Open 24 Hours
Fri Open 24 Hours
Sat Open 24 Hours
Sun Open 24 Hours