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Washington DC Hiking Trails
- The Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) is a rail trail though the Northwest D.C. Area. As a slacker, on this trail you run the risk of being mercilessly hounded by bicyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders, and assorted ill-kempt youth with numerous piercings and tats who have a preference for foul language and rap music. We provide this link only because we've received some e-mails...this is a link to a bicycle site of all things. Proceed with caution...we don't like them on our hiking trails, and I'm sure they don't want us on their bike paths.
- General links to dozens of hikes in the DC metro area, great descriptions and data. This is on the LocalHikes.com website, which does about as good a job as possible of providing hiking info for us outdoorsy types stuck in urban areas. If you're a DC area resident, absolutely bookmark this site.
- General -- Trail list Good page here, on the GoCityKids.com website. It's a laundry list of kid-friendly hikes and trails in the DC area, complete with basic details and some comments. Nice page of info, simple and straightforward.
- General This page is the official hiking info page for the Ski club of Washington DC, or SCWDC. Much like myself, these folks find that once you reach Mid-March the skiing starts to suffer, and by early April you have to find other outdoor pursuits or your skis suffer tremendous damage. Some good stuff here, I'd check this group out if I lived in DC, being that I'm a skier and a hiker. If it matters, this is the slickest site of all the hiking groups in DC that I found; congratulations to Leo van Dooren, an obviously talented webmaster. I'll probably steal some code from this site.
- General This is the Capital Hiking Club, appear to be a friendly bunch with a lot of activities. Some interesting links; check it out. This appears to be the "hiker's hiking group" of the three listed here.
- General This is the WashingtonWomenOutdoors.org site, which is comprised of "independent women seeking adventure in the outdoors. We have a passion for hiking, biking, rock climbing, rafting, canoeing, kayaking and skiing...anything that tests our strength and broadens our horizons. We enjoy meeting new people who want to travel with us to beautiful places in the wilderness. We are open to learning new things that may at first be frightening. We are women who lead and who have the trust to follow." So, of the three hiking clubs listed here, this one would be ideal for any nice, well-behaved single men living in the DC area, because it appears that the women outnumber the men and I bet these ladies wouldn't complain the way your current girlfriend does when you climb Old Rag. Would you rather hike with a group of confident, outdoorsy women seeking to broaden their horizons, or a bunch of competitive, smelly, testosterone-laced, jerky guys? My point exactly! I'm not sure they allow males in this club, however, so you might get a chilly reception. Could be like Augusta, except the other way around.
- Rock Creek Park This is the official site by the National Park Service. Short on information, long on programs and schedules. Whatever.
Orders Remain as Directed
Much of the "hiking" that is done in the District of Columbia involves the laborious task of visiting monuments and walking along the Mall. This requires crossing heavily trafficked streets at the mercy of monster SUVs, piloted by drivers otherwise occupied with cel phones and some concoction from Starbucks®.
Actual hiking "trails" can be found at Theodore Roosevelt National Monument, in Rock Creek Park, and the Arboretum (on the east side of the District), and a dozen other places with varying levels of safety.
Because of the "spiderweb" layout of the streets, be advised that walking along regular district roads usually leads to being marooned on triangular patches of concrete. The most famous, opposite one of the court buildings, is known as "Monica Beach."
So hike elsewhere. While you're in the District, somewhere in the NW quadrant is a house with an unbelievable exterior called "The Flintstone House" by locals. When you see it, you'll know why. Directions will be posted here in the future.
The best guidebook to date is
60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, DC by Paul Elliott. This link goes to amazon, where you are likely to find a used copy for just a few dollars. You'll want to grab a copy if you live in the area.
If you insist upon a quiet hike, you might think about crossing the river and walking through Arlington National Cemetary. You'll find memorials to thousands of Americans, some famous, most obscure, all heroic.
While you're there, you might be fortunate enough to see the hourly change of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. If you listen closely, you will hear a few words spoken; these same few words have been spoken hourly for the past 60+ years. Through all the mayhem in this world...through all of your successes, failures, loves, missed opportunities...rain, sleet, snow...the same words have been uttered continuously:
Orders remain as directed.
They salute, and the vigil resumes. That is the most stirring and impressive thing you can possibly "hike" to see while visiting Washington DC.
-- Rick Bolger
Please click here for the Slackpacker web site
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