Revised 02/09/2010 Hit Counter

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Links to Casual Hikes in the Washington DC Area

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 C&O Canal Hikes  ||
||  Appalachian Trail Hikes  ||  Ideas for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Maps ||

Links to State Hiking Idea Pages
(States in white have current content)
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Welcome to Casual Hikes in the Washington DC Area

Let Me Know You Are Hiking:
To suggest a new hike, to update any of the information about these hikes, to be added to the Casual Sports email list, contact me at:

About the Schedule of Hikes:
If you prefer an organized hike with a leader, I'd suggest you contact one of the hiking clubs listed elsewhere on this page. I am developing this list of hikes to be used by hike leaders and event planners and although I've listed the hikes on these pages with specific dates and times, this is not an indication that it is an organized hike and you should plan on doing the hike by yourself with one or more friends. Obviously, you may do any of these hikes at any time that is convenient for you.

All of the hikes listed are Self/Group guided hikes and all persons participate at their own risk. Because there is not a designated leader for any of these hikes, and because different people enjoy different hiking conditions; the scheduled hikes are never cancelled. 

Virginia Hikes:
The schedule of Virginia hikes is the most complete, but there are still hikes that may be added. One of the problems I've attempted to solve with this particular hike order is to spread the hikes out into the different geographic areas of Northern Virginia so that there are monthly hikes in each area.

The first step was to research the different hikes and to break them into hikes that would not be more than eight-miles or into a maximum of approximately three-hours at a 2-mile per hour pace. I then listed the hikes in a consecutive hike order. For instance I listed the Heritage Trail hikes along the Potomac in order from Roosevelt Island upriver. Once I had an acceptable list of hikes, I numbered the hikes from one to twelve in repeating groups and then created the schedule by picking the first hike from each group, then the second hike, and so on. The final result is the schedule of Virginia hikes.

Maryland Hikes Update:
I have identified seventy-six hikes in Maryland and have completed the hike descriptions for more than half of these hikes. The online schedule is more or less a list of consecutive hikes and the final step of listing them in groups will not happen until I complete the descriptions of the hikes. One of the things that I can see from what I have so far is that the Maryland hikes will be divided into two major sections; Montgomery County and west, and Prince Georges County and east.

C&O Canal Hikes:
Most of the C&O canal hikes are in Maryland, but since the terminus of the typical barge trip was in Alexandria, the schedule includes a couple of hikes in Virginia and DC. I've also picked a couple of the more scenic hikes and included them in the schedule of Maryland hikes so there will be some duplication of these hikes. I also did not see an advantage of shuffling these hikes and have left them in a geographic hike order.

DC Hikes Update:
Once the Maryland calendar is completed, I will focus on the DC hikes. As you can see by reviewing the online list, these hikes will include all of the DC landmarks, but it will also include many other hikes that have been identified but not yet included on the hike list.

Appalachian Trail Hikes:
I've taken all of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club maps and broken them down into casual point-to-point hikes and/or loop hikes. The schedule of hikes is in a South-to-North route to keep the sun at your back and for better lighting for photographs. Because of the distance to get to these hikes these hikes will be listed in geographic sequence.

Online TOPO Maps:
Most of the TOPO maps have been hand drawn and may not be 100% accurate. Since I started doing the TOPO maps, I have changed the symbols for marking the start, stop, and turn-around points so the following information may not be correct for each hike. Eventually I'll redo all of the maps so that a yellow diamond marks the start point, a yellow triangle will mark the end point for point-to-point, and a yellow circle will mark a turn-around for loop hikes. Circuit hikes are more or less large circular hikes and will normally only have a diamond which will represent both the start and ending point of the hike.

Gear, Water, Food, Etc.
Some trail conditions may require the use of hands for holding or climbing so either a backpack or a waist-pack is recommended for carrying water, snacks, cameras, or other items. Hiking boots and layered clothing are suggested in warm or cold weather. Although participation in the hikes is free, there may be fees for carpooling and/or park entrance fees.

Difficulty Scale:
Hikes vary in length and difficulty and participants are encouraged to hike at their own pace. While there is an effort to hike as a group, faster hikers may move on ahead and slower hikers may be left behind. Under these conditions, all participants are responsible for their own safety and should not participate in an activity that exceeds their physical condition or limitations.


Hiking Clubs in DC Metro Area:
Appalachian Mountain Club, DC Chapter
    Capital Hiking Club
    /Center Hiking Club
    Maryland Outdoor Club
    Mountain Club of Maryland
    Northern Virginia Hiking Club 
    Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
    Potomac Heritage Trail Association
    Sierra Club
    Washington Women Outdoors 

Hiking Related Organizations:
        Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail
                David Brickley at 703-590-3569    
    West Virginia
        Friends Wilderness Center