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Washington, DC

Capital Crescent Trail | Photo by Hung Tran

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

Preferred Route through DC map by RTC
Preferred Route through DC map by RTC
Economic Potential of DC graphic by RTC
Economic Potential of DC graphic by RTC

Trails Along the Route

• National Mall Trails
• Rock Creek Park Trails
• K Street/Water Street Cycle Track

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.

Route Reveal Celebration

Live from Washington, D.C., on the Capital Crescent Trail

Great American Rail-Trail branded map (2022) by RTC
Great American Rail-Trail branded map (2022) by RTC

Great American Rail-Trail Preferred Route

Be a Part of the Movement to Complete the Great American

Like you, we can’t wait to see the Great American Rail-Trail vision come to life—but we can’t do it alone. Help us reach 1 million pledges for the Great American, showing the strength and solidarity of the trails community.

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