Between the National Mall and the pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods—not to mention all those famous monuments—the nation’s capital is a walker’s paradise, with plenty of paths that allow for brisk, heart-thumping strolls, says Vanessa Garrison, founder and director of GirlTrek, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring African-American women and girls to walk and exercise more.
Best Walk: National Mall and Lincoln Memorial
Begin this 3.3-mile walk at Pennsylvania Avenue and Eighth Street, outside the Eastern Market Metro Station. Head northwest on Pennsylvania Avenue for about half a mile, then continue left onto Independence Avenue when it merges with Pennsylvania Avenue. At the intersection of Independence Avenue and First Street SE, bear right onto Southeast Drive, heading toward the U.S. Capitol Building. Follow as it becomes Southwest Drive, skirting the Capitol and heading toward the President James Garfield Memorial. Turn right (north) onto First Street SW, then travel counterclockwise three-quarters of the way around the traffic circle, exiting onto Maryland Avenue. Head west to Third Street SW, then turn right. After passing Jefferson Drive, turn left to enter the National Mall. Walk west to 14th Street SW, then turn left and walk to the crosswalk at Jefferson Drive to cross over 14th Street SW. Follow this path west, past the Washington Monument, the John Paul Jones Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, and end your walk at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. To access the map, click here.
Alternate Walk: Adams Morgan and Rock Creek Park
Explore the Adams Morgan neighborhood and the picturesque trails of Rock Creek Park on this 4.2-mile walk. Beginning at 18th Street and Columbia Road, head north on Adams Mill Road. Continue onto Calvert Street over Rock Creek on the Duke Ellington Memorial Bridge. Just past Shoreham Drive, turn left onto the Rock Creek Park Trail. Bear right at the fork, following the trail and crossing back over Rock Creek three more times over the next 3.5 miles. Follow the trail south, with the Potomac River on your right, until you pass the John Ericsson National Memorial. Cross over Ohio Drive and turn left (north), toward the Lincoln Memorial where you’ll end your walk.
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