You might not know it, but I can be an outdoorsy gal. I grew up as a serious Girl Scout, even going so far as camping in a blizzard of 2003. Though, to be fair, after that incident and the subsequent minimal frostbite I was a tad wary of cold temperatures from there on out.
Anyway, this city girl has always loved a good hike. Upon moving to DC my man showed me some great trails and exploring around the area. Now, it's my turn to share with you my favorites, in order of difficulty.
Theodore Roosevelt Island: Difficulty level 1
This island, located on the Potomac River between Georgetown and Virginia, is an easy 15 minute drive from most parts of the city. The whole trail can take about an hour or so as you walk around the perimeter (or through the middle!) of the island. Much of the trail is a wide dirt road which then lends way to boards across the bog-y land. It's a great walk to bring a dog on too!
Great Falls, Virginia: Difficulty level 2
The Virginia side of the Great Falls on the Potomac River is the easier side to traverse. Following trails you'll walk along well kept paths of rocks overlooking the river and falls. Easy enough to bring kids and pets on, this trip can take you about 3 hours. They even have grassy spots with picnic tables along the way to make a day of it!
Great Falls, Maryland: Difficulty level 5
Across the river you can hike the Maryland side of Great Falls. Significantly more difficult this trail doesn't allow pets and for good reason. Parts of this hike involves scaling almost 90 degree cliffs, but the views of the Potomac are almost breath taking. The real kicker? The Maryland side has access to the water which means summer swimming!
Old Rag, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: Difficulty Level 7
For years Z dissuaded me from this trail. He'd go with this guy friends claiming it was too hard for his dainty city girlfriend. Over a couple of years, though, I was able to convince him of my durability. While it's an arduous hike you can't beat the sprawling views.
Now that you've got some suggestions I hope you're inspired to get outside this weekend! And be sure to stay tuned as I'll update this list periodically as I find more great hikes close to The District!