The Top 10 Enormous Peaks in Washington DC Ideal for Hiking Enthusiasts!

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Hiking doesn’t come to mind first when thinking about Washington D.C. One is most likely to think about national monuments, politics, and urban life instead. However, the nation’s capital has some of the finest trails that are ideal for hiking and other activities like horseback riding, mountain biking, etc. The mountains in Washington D.C. offer you trails that are mostly level and smooth, making them suitable for beginners or nature-loving families.


The mountains near Washington D.C. provide an opportunity to take a break from city life and immerse yourself in nature. The hiking trails in Washington D.C. offer breathtaking views of the state. Already excited? Explore these trails with this convenient guide!

10 Top Mountains In Washington DC

So, here is the list of some of the premier mountains in Washington D.C. that also showcase the highest mountains in Washington D.C. Grab a sturdy pair of hiking boots and some essentials, and you are ready to go.

1. Appalachian Trail

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Appalachian-Trail_18th oct

The Appalachian trail spans 2200 miles and crosses fifteen states from Georgia to Maine. The drive to Virginia isn’t too far, and you will find 544 miles of the trail there, which is a quarter of its total length. It takes less than an hour to reach this section of the Appalachian Trail. The trails here are suitable for novice hikers and are well-maintained. Some parts of the Appalachian Trail are more gradual and mild in comparison. The views are stunning and offer glimpses of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. If you’re seeking a more challenging trail, head further south where it becomes much tougher.

Location: Appalachian Trail, VA, USA.

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2. Cross County Trail

Cross County Trail

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This trail spans 40 miles and runs along the north-south line between Occoquan and Potomac River, intersecting at Fairfax County, a vibrant part of suburban Virginia, Washington. Most of the trail follows streams and traverses the green spaces of the countryside, providing a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The trail is easily accessible and offers an interesting experience as there are several points to start and stop, and it welcomes runners, hikers, horseback riders, and cyclists.

Location: Cross Country Trail, Virginia, Washington.

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Patuxent River State Park

3. Patuxent River State Park

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This State Park covers an area of 6700 acres and is approximately 34 miles from D.C., providing numerous miles of unmarked and secluded paths for hikers, joggers, and equestrians. The paths are relatively simple and exude a peaceful and calming atmosphere. It serves as a wonderful getaway from the bustling city. Due to its remote location, it can be a challenge for beginners as the paths are not marked. It is advisable to carry extra provisions.

Location: Patuxent River State Park, Upper Marlboro, MD, USA.

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Burke Lake Park

4. Burke Lake Park

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Burke Lake Park was originally intended to be transformed into an airport, but the project was abandoned and Dulles Airport was constructed nearby. Fortunately, the park was preserved and now serves as a fantastic location for family or friends to hang out. The park features Burke Lake, a golf course, volleyball courts, playing fields, and a carousel. The 4.5-mile flat trail is perfect for a leisurely evening walk, as it mostly runs alongside the lake. The trail combines natural and paved surfaces, providing a delightful experience as it meanders through trees and crosses the lake’s dam.

Location: Burke Lake Park, Fairfax Station, VA.

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5. Catoctin Mountain Park

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The Catoctin Mountain Park is located in the Appalachian mountains in Maryland, United States. 18 miles of demanding trails cover the area and offer you incredible vistas. The most scenic hike here is to Cunningham Falls, you can reach the falls from the trails on the western side of the park.


Location: Catoctin Mountain Park, Appalachian Mountains, Maryland.

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6. Seneca Creek Park

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The Seneca Creek park is right outside downtown D.C. and covers an area of 6000 acres. There are two sections of this park, one is the developed part in Gaithersburg, MD and the other is the 16.5 mile long Seneca Creek Greenway trail. This trail follows Seneca Creek and descends to the Potomac River. The trail is marked with blue signs and it carves a beautiful path through the forest that leads downstream.

Seneca Creek Park

Location: Seneca Creek Park, Gaithersburg, MD.

7. Bears Den Park

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The Bears Den Park is situated off the Appalachian trail in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains located in Bluemont, VA. The area of Bears Den Park is 66 acres. The Bears Den Rocks sit at 1350 feet and are a must-see if you are here as they overlook the valley. There are four trails here and they can all be combined to get a longer hike. The park is renowned for its breathtaking views and the sunset here is a favorite among hikers. There is a stone castle built in a European style in 1933 that can be rented overnight.

Bears Den Park

Location: Bears Den Park, Bluemont, Virginia.

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8. Potomac Heritage Trail

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The Potomac Heritage Trail spans over 800 miles. This was designated as a National Scenic trail in 1983. The trails traverse D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. There are a total of 11 trails, each with its own unique characteristics. The scenery varies from dense forests to urban sidewalks, and you may also find yourself following a waterway. No matter which trail you choose, this location guarantees you an amazing hike.

Potomac Heritage Trail

Location: Potomac Heritage Trail, Virginia, USA.

9. C & O Canal Towpath

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The towpath was originally constructed for mules that towed boats along the waterway. The towpath stretches for 184.5 miles from Georgetown to Cumberland. The terrain here is mostly flat, with a 600-foot elevation present only at the beginning. The trail is a combination of dirt, gravel, and grass, making it an ideal location for leisurely strolls without any steep hills to climb.

C & O Canal Towpath

Location: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, USA.

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10. Harpers Ferry trails

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The historically significant Harpers Ferry played a significant role in America’s Civil War due to its strategic location by the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Currently, there are about 20 miles of trails available. The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park covers 4000 acres of land spanning Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. The headquarters of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is located at the midpoint, stretching approximately 2178 miles. The hike offers picturesque views of riverbanks, old battlefields, and once you reach the mountaintop, the views are truly breathtaking.

Harpers Ferry trails

Location: Bolivar, USA.

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Here we have it, a list of incredible paths for hiking enthusiasts in and near Washington D.C. The picturesque mountains here when scaled give one an opportunity to appreciate even more picturesque vistas. The paths are diverse and the majority of them are simple. Pack the essential items, book your journey to Washington DC and set off to relish the natural surroundings in the capital city region of USA.

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