What better way to begin than with a historical hotspot? The Mount Vernon Trail starts out, naturally, at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, and runs nearly 18 miles to Theodore Roosevelt Island. Super-popular among the area’s cyclists, the trail is also great for traversing on two feet, as well. Along the way, keep an eye out for Old Town Alexandria, Gravelly Point Park, and the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial.
The Capital Crescent Trail connects Silver Spring to Georgetown via 11 miles of mostly paved surface, and is perfect for practicing your spinning skills outside the gym. The short distance and relatively easy terrain makes the Capital Crescent Trail a no-brainer for bikers, but it's equally popular with runners and walkers. And there's the perfect reward at either end to get you up and at em: Shopping and lunch in Georgetown, or shopping and lunch in Silver Spring. Win, win.
Rock Creek Park is D.C.'s quintessential destination for exercise. The popular hiker/biker path passes the National Zoo, and it's great for running and pedaling — and let's get real, if anything will get us on back on the bike, it’s the thought of seeing giant pandas at the end of the ride. So, do yourself a favor and peruse the park’s assets. It even has a planetarium — post-ride stargazing, anyone?
Photo: Courtesy of National Park Service