Summary: Some begin the loop by hiking North from the parking lot and crossing the Key Bridge. I like to head south first, following the ramp up and across the Roosevelt Bridge. Walk behind the Kenedy Center, and past Watergate to Thompson's Boat House. Here's where you'll find Mile 0 for the C&O Canal. Continue from there up and across the Rock Creek bridge to the C&O Canal trail in Georgetown. Follow the trail for 4.2 miles to the Chain Bridge. Cross the Chain bridge, and nest small bridge. Potomac Heritage Trail is immediately on your right. You'll turn and go under the bridge heading south. Follow the blue blazes carefully. During times of flooding the parts of the trail may be under water. It's not too difficult to remain up the bank a bit and meander along until the trail rises back up to meet you. Follow along back to the Theodore Roosevelt parking lot.
Trailhead: 395 N to exit 10C. Follow George Washington Parkway pas the Pentagon, and exits for Key Bridge. Parking for Theodore Roosevelt Island is on your left, and only accesible from the northbound side of the highway. (Lat:38.8955 Lon:-77.0661)
Trail Guides for Key Chain loop:
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: National Park Service 703-289-2500
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joe Cross, who has posted 56 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by MCV on 4/8/2012
This is a nice hike, but not dog friendly (unless you can carry your dog at times). There are a few steep rocky scrambles on the south side where our large dog had a very difficult time navigating. We would hike again, but not with our dog.
Reviewed by andy on 3/30/2012
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Reviewed by RAR on 11/29/2011
Great hike, went counter clockwise starting at Roosevelt Island, went across Roosevelt Bridge, big lunch in Georgetown then walked off the Chili on the nice flat C&O path. Really have to pay attention to the trail blazes on the VA side starting at the bridge right past the Chain Bridge. Was a bit of a challenge in the rain climbing over all the rocks and streams. Great hike!
Reviewed by MarkF on 9/28/2010
I assume that this MAY have been a good hike if it were not for the TERRIBLE directions above. I decided to start the hike from the Chain Bridge. I followed the directions exactly. In face, I had been down the trail before that leads down to the river. The directions read "Cross the Chain bridge, and next small bridge. Potomac Heritage Trail is immediately on your right. You'll turn and go under the bridge heading south. Follow the blue blazes carefully." There are NO blue blazes. There is a sign made by some local hiking club that says, "Roosevelt Island 4 miles." But in fact there is NO trail along the Potomac at river level. The Potomac Heritage trail is located up high, way above the Chain Bridge along the GW Parkway.(Con
Reviewed by TS on 8/11/2004
A pleasant hike close in to city but giving you stretches at time to truly feel in country. Many walkers on warm days in some sections. Especially enjoyed discovering Lockhouse 8 in Cabin John run by Poomac Conservancy, www.potomac.org, offering a look into history of canal lock keeper.
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Keys: Virginia Hiking, Virginia Trails, Virginia Hikes, Fairfax County Hiking, Fairfax County Trails, Fairfax County Hikes