Anacostia Park | ANACOSTIA RIVERWALK TRAIL

Southern end of the Anacostia River Trail

Southern end of the Anacostia River Trail

While there are no traditional earthen hiking trails at Anacostia Park, there is a paved, multi-use trail that is open to hikers, bikers, and skaters called the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Within the park, the trail runs along the eastern shore of the Anacostia River from the Frederick Douglass Bridge all the way to the Washington-Maryland border, and on the western shore between the Frederick Douglas Bridge and the Benning Road Bridge. At Benning Road, cross back over the river to continue on the trail farther north. On either end of the park, the trail continues farther by connecting to various other trails in Washington and Maryland.

Distances between points of interest are as follows:

  • Frederick Douglass Bridge to Skating Rink: 1.9 miles
  • Skating Rink to Benning Road: 1.5 miles
  • Benning Road to Washington-Maryland border: 2 miles
  • Border to Bladensburg Waterfront Park: 1.5 miles (this is out of the park, but a popular route)

The section of trail from River Terrace Park at Benning Road to the Washington-Maryland border passes through Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, which is part of Anacostia Park, but reviewed separately here on National Park Planner.

Anacostia River Trail at River Terrace Park

Anacostia River Trail at River Terrace Park

If your trek begins at the Frederick Douglass Bridge on the eastern side of Anacostia Park and progresses north, the only thing to be aware of is that once you pass the skating rink area the trail appears to end at a round pad with a compass-like icon on it. To continue north, take a left on Anacostia Drive (the road paralleling the trail). The road forks almost immediately, so stay to the right and you will see the trail continue just around the corner, crossing over railroad tracks on an elevated footbridge. From here to River Terrace Park, 1.5 miles ahead, the trail passes through undeveloped land, so there are no facilities to be found, only forest.

False end of the Anacostia River Trail just past the skating rink

False end of the Anacostia River Trail just past the skating rink

Bridge over the railroad tracks

Bridge over the railroad tracks

For bikers, a popular ride is to and from Bladensburg Waterfront Park, approximately 14 miles, round trip. Another option is a loop along the eastern and western shores of the Anacostia River. Start off at the Frederick Douglass Bridge and ride north to River Terrace Park. Cross the river on the Benning Road Bridge, proceed south past RFK and Nationals stadiums and the Washington Navy Yard, then cross back over the river on the Frederick Douglass Bridge to arrive at your starting point. This route entails a little road-biking along either Water Street or 12th Street near the District Yacht Club, and again on Potomac Avenue in order to get onto the Frederick Douglass Bridge, but other than that, it’s all bike trail. There are bike and pedestrian lanes on the bridges. Round trip is approximately 7 miles.

Back to the Top


With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on April 26, 2020
Share this article