In the heart of Washington, you can escape for an entire day or just a couple hours on these leisurely wooded trails.
At the center of this teardrop-shaped, 88-acre island nature preserve is an open-air memorial to a president known for his love of the outdoors. Fountains and slabs of stone with quotations on conservation, government, manliness and youth form a circle around a heroic statue of Theodore Roosevelt by Paul Manship.
The real lure, though, is the 2.5 miles of dirt trails that run through the swamp, marsh and forest, offering many opportunities to view birds and small wildlife. The central memorial also presents a good spot to relax or pull out your picnic lunch. All of the trails are clearly marked with posts and interconnect at different points. Various routes, short and long, can be taken across this small island. This excursion is day-hiking only.
Because the paths are unpaved, they get muddy when it rains, and the low-lying Swamp Trail is closed. Bugs can be a problem in the summer.
Water fountains are available at various points on the trails. Pets are allowed on leashes.
Access is from the northbound lane of the George Washington Parkway on the Virginia side of the Potomac. The parking area is just north of Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and Interstate 66. A foot-bridge connects the parking area to the island. The park is also accessible by the Mount Vernon trail that runs along the west side of the Potomac.