Washington, D.C.


The easternmost endpoint for the Great American Rail-Trail begins in Washington, D.C., at the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Heading west through the National Mall, the route is hosted by trails featuring some of America’s most renowned landmarks and a portion of Rock Creek Park, the oldest urban park in the National Park Service. After traveling through historic Georgetown, the route in D.C. ends near Fletcher’s Cove, a well-known fishing and outdoor recreation area of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

The “Great American” Route Through D.C.

Through D.C., RTC’s route analysis defines the preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail as 7.5 miles and 100% complete. The route is hosted by five existing trails heading west from the U.S. Capitol. Click the links below to view full trail descriptions on TrailLink.com.


Trails Along the Route



Gateway Trail


Capital Crescent Trail

A start in the nation’s capital offers an exciting kickoff for such an epic and patriotic undertaking. The 11-mile Capital Crescent Trail begins in Georgetown, just a couple miles from the National Mall with such American treasures as the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. Travelers roll out of the city and into Maryland largely under the cover of a pleasant tree canopy with beautiful glimpses of the Potomac River.

View on TrailLink

Be a Part of the Movement to Complete the Great American Rail-Trail


Like you, we can’t wait to see the Great American Rail-Trail vision come to life—but we can’t do it alone.
Support at the state and local levels is critical to the trail’s success. Help us reach 1 million pledges for the Great American, showing the strength and solidarity of the trails community. This is America’s trail. Together, let’s make it a reality.

Sign the Great American Rail-Trail Pledge