Outbound Collective logo

Hike Theodore Roosevelt Island

Arlington, Virginia

based on 3 reviews



2 miles

Route Type



Added by Abigail Hobbs

Pay homage to the president who gave us our national parks and visit this wild oasis on the edge of D.C.

It seems only fitting that the president who gave us our national parks would have one all to his own. 

Located on the edge of Washington D.C., Theodore Roosevelt Island offers a glimpse of what the city may have looked like before the politicians, before the marble buildings, before the traffic-choked streets, before the city was even a city.

 Accessing the island is easy. Visitors can walk, bike, or drive. If the latter, parking is available right off the George Washington Memorial Parkway. (Note that bikes are not allowed on the island but bike racks are available beside the entrance.)

Visitors can choose to explore the Woods Trail, Upland Trail, or the Swamp Trail.  The longest trail is a one and a half mile loop that passes through swampy woods and a cattail marsh. 

While the paths at Theodore Roosevelt can hardly be considered difficult, they certainly are scenic. You'll stroll along the Potomac River -- where you may spot a duck or two-- and over boardwalks elevated above preserved wetlands. Wildflowers and cattails dot the landscape, and it's not uncommon to spot deer peeking through their waving fronds. The distant hum of Ronald Reagan airport and the eternal DC traffic, the city's constant underscore, fades beneath the thrill of cicadas and the rushing Potomac current. 

With benches dotting the trail, the island offers multiple picturesque spots to stop and read a book or to just enjoy the quiet. Trail runners and joggers often use the paths, as the gentle grade makes the island an excellent alternative to running on concrete streets. Otherwise, the trails remain relatively quiet, with only moderate traffic, as most visitors walk straight to the central monument. 

The island's monument to Theodore Roosevelt is itself a beautiful spot.  Large fountains quietly gurgle before the large statue and its surrounding monoliths. A respectful hush usually descends here as visitors sit on marble benches to enjoy the peace and quiet. It's the perfect spot to earn a quick escape from citylife and a fitting tribute to our nation's 26th president.

"The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value." - quotation engraved upon the "Nature" monolith 

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking

Hike Theodore Roosevelt Island Reviews

Since this is right smack dab in the middle of Arlington and DC, its a great little getaway thats a short drive, walk, or bike ride away. As mentioned before, the parking here fills up very fast, so arrive early if you plan on spending a couple hours on the island or walking the Mt. Vernon Trail.

Living in an urban/suburban area it isn't easy to find a more 'natural' setting. T.R. Island gives you that in the middle of the Potomac River with Georgetown in DC on one side and Rosslyn in Arlington on the other. The parking lot is small and with it being where it is, can fill up fast on a nice weekend. All in all... A nice spot to check out in the DC area, especially if you take your four legged friend along!

Island full of nature and surrounded by water. Super convenient.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Bike the Mt. Vernon Trail

Photograph Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial

National Mall in Washington D.C.

Fish the Potomac River in Arlington

Hike the Soapstone Valley Trail

Bike the W&OD Trail