Anacostia has some of the best running and biking routes in the city. It is not as splendid as a run along the National Mall, but it also doesn’t have that kind of foot traffic either. You’ll see fellow walkers, joggers, and bikers periodically, but compared to most places in DC, it is significantly less crowded and way more convenient. As most of us know, the hardest part of working out is getting to the gym or trail where you want to workout or run. If I have to get in a car to get there, it may not happen. That’s not a problem if you live near the Anacostia River Trail.
Route 1 – Run to Kingman Island (~7.5 miles)
In about four minutes, I can leave my house in Historic Anacostia, get down to the river bank, and forget that I’m in the Nation’s capital. If I head across the 11th Street Bridge and head north towards RFK Stadium, I can skirt the west side of the Anacostia and take a tree-lined run past a series of local boat clubs. If I continue north, I hit Kingman Island, a man-made island in the Anacostia just to the east of RFK. Kingman Island is a hidden gem. It’s a great place to take nature walks with the family and do some turtle spotting over one of the wooden bridges that connects it to the rest of the city.
Route 2 – Navy Yard Loop (~4 miles)
If I go south from the 11th Street Bridge, I’m right in the middle of Navy Yard, next to Nats Park, and all the dining and shopping options that have come there in the last decade. It’s easy to make this run into a loop by crossing the Anacostia via the 11th Street Bridge and then taking the Frederick Douglass Bridge back home.
Route 3 – East Side of the Anacostia (~7.5 miles)
Most of the time though, I stay on the east side of the Anacostia River and follow the trail towards Kenilworth Gardens. As you head north, the Anacostia bounds your left. On your right, open green space covers acres between the Anacostia Community Recreation Center and a playground…shaped like a pirate ship! One of our favorite things to do is run to the pirate ship playground with the kids and work out on the fitness equipment surrounding it while they play!
Your kids will enjoy watching the Army, Marine, and Police helicopters that routinely fly up and down the Anacostia on their way to the Park Police station in the park or Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. There’s also a train intersection that you can overlook from a pedestrian bridge. There’s no shortage of wildlife either. I have seen turkeys, vultures, lots of deer, and groundhogs on morning runs.
Shoot me a note if you want a running tour of Anacostia!