5 Top Hikes Near DC for the Day After Thanksgiving


After the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, it’s time to embrace the tranquility of nature and embark on a rejuvenating hike. Fortunately, the DC area offers a plethora of scenic trails to choose from, providing the perfect opportunity to ditch the shopping, reconnect with family, and bask in the crisp autumn air. Here are some fantastic hikes near DC to consider for the day after Thanksgiving.

Wheaton Regional Park’s trails (Maryland)
Just a short drive north of Silver Spring, Wheaton Regional Park encompasses 536 acres of natural beauty. With a mix of hard-surface and natural walking trails, the park caters to all levels of hikers. For a serene experience, start at Brookside Nature Center, where Oak Ridge and Pine Lake trails await. Alternatively, the park’s western entrance offers access to four miles of hard-surface trails, including the Wheaton Regional Trail, perfect for a leisurely post-Thanksgiving stroll.

Rock Creek Park’s Western Ridge Trail (DC)
Escape the urban hustle by exploring Rock Creek Park’s Western Ridge Trail. Stretching the length of the park, this five-mile trail promises a nature-filled adventure. Encounter diverse wildlife and marvel at the towering trees as you traverse from the northern boundary bridge to Bluff Bridge near Cleveland Park. With moderate difficulty, the trail allows for flexibility, offering both moderate and challenging options as you venture south of Pierce Mill.

Fountainhead Regional Park’s Bull Run Occoquan Trail (Virginia)
For those seeking a more extensive hiking experience, Fountainhead Regional Park’s Bull Run Occoquan Trail is a hidden gem. Spanning nearly 20 miles, this natural surface path winds through Fountainhead Regional Park, Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, and Bull Run Regional Park. Choose a seven-mile stretch in Fountainhead Park, featuring hilly inclines and the potential for wildlife sightings, providing an invigorating workout and a scenic escape.

Great Falls’ Billy Goat Trail (Section A) (Maryland)
Great Falls Park boasts the iconic Billy Goat Trail (Section A), a favorite among local hikers. Despite its short length of less than two miles, this trail offers a challenging terrain, including technical boulder scrambles. The reward? Panoramic views of the Potomac River and Mather Gorge. It’s an excellent choice for those craving a bit of adventure and a memorable post-Thanksgiving workout.

Burke Lake Park’s shoreline trail (Virginia)
For a family-friendly hiking experience, head to Burke Lake Park in Fairfax. A five-mile loop skirts the reservoir, surrounded by lush trees and teeming with freshwater fish. The flat, easygoing nature of the trail makes it accessible for all ages, providing the perfect setting for a stroll. Enjoy the scenic water views, and don’t forget to bring along the family pet (on a leash) to join in the outdoor festivities.

As you lace up your hiking boots and embark on your chosen trail, let the day after Thanksgiving be a time of reflection, connection, and appreciation for the natural wonders that surround us. Soak in the crisp fall air, revel in the serenity of the outdoors, and create lasting memories with loved ones.

Embrace the beauty of the post-Thanksgiving landscape with these diverse hiking options near DC. Whether you opt for the rugged challenges of Billy Goat Trail or the family-friendly atmosphere of Burke Lake Park, these hikes offer a refreshing way to spend the day after Thanksgiving, fostering a sense of gratitude and well-being in the great outdoors.

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