It has felt like a long winter as April is finally arriving. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, in particular snow because it provides many creative and adventurous activities for kids to do outside. At the beginning of March though, most are anticipating winters transition into spring, longing for the warmth of the sun’s rays and the smell of flowers and trees blooming in the air.
There is no better way to experience the succession of spring in the multiple ecosystems of the DC region than to take a hike and immerse your family in the sensory experience of nature during this season. Our region is rich with national parks, many providing great hiking experiences for all ability levels within a family. Below are a few of my family’s favorites:
• Rock Creek National Park – The Rapids Bridge hike is a two-mile loop that starts behind the horse stables descending to the creek where there are super-sized boulders to climb on along the creek and back up to the stables.
• Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens – This easy one-mile loop circles the aquatic ponds filled with lotus and lily flowers (bloom from May to end of July) and out and back on the boardwalk through the marshes of the Anacostia River.
• C&O Canal National Historical Park – The Billy Goat Trail, section C at Caderock is a 2.5 mile hike along the Potomac River and C&O Canal.
• Fort Washington Park – The River Trail is an easy two-mile hike along the mouth of Piscataway Creek through a quiet, jungle of trees. Before you head home, visit the giant military fort that protected Washington DC for two centuries.
• George Washington Memorial Parkway – The Turkey Run hike is a one-mile loop that descends steeply down the bluff to the Potomac River to rise again along the cascading waters of Turkey Run.
This list of great family hikes in area national parks is just the tip of the iceberg; there are many more. An extensive list with detailed hike descriptions will be published in Best Hikes with Kids: Washington DC, The Beltway & Beyond set to be release in September 2014.
What is your families favorite hike in an area national park?
By Jennifer Chambers – owner of Hiking Along, a science teacher, environmental educator.
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