I’ve found another 5-star trail on the East Coast Greenway — this time in D.C.

There’s a fantastic newish trail that takes you into Washington, D.C.

Back when I biked from Annapolis to Alexandria, Virginia, along the East Coast Greenway in 2014, the route to Washington, D.C., relied on the Northwest Branch Trail. Today there’s another option, and I think it’s even better.

This is the Anacostia River Trail, which runs along the eastern side of the Anacostia River, which feeds into the Potomac River, and crosses back into D.C. nearish to the Capitol. There’s more on the western side (some still under construction) that goes past the old (soon to be demolished?) RFK Stadium and near the pro baseball and soccer stadiums.

Continue reading “I’ve found another 5-star trail on the East Coast Greenway — this time in D.C.”

Construction sites along the East Coast Greenway

It’s inspiring to hear about parts of the East Coast Greenway that are now under construction.


I’m just back from the East Coast Greenway summit in Providence, Rhode Island. And while some participants couldn’t hold back on their disappointment over the presidential election, I prefer to focus on the inspiring developments I heard about.

There’s a huge amount of progress in creating the off-road network between Connecticut and Delaware in particular. Some of this is because the governors in both Connecticut and Delaware want the East Coast Greenway to be part of their legacy, as I’ve written before. So projects that have been in development are now close to the ribbon-cutting.

In Connecticut, almost 10 miles of trail will be completed this year and a minimum of another 20 miles next year. I saw many of those Connecticut projects on our long weekend there this summer (that’s where the photo is from), and hearing this makes me feel less disappointed that a Portland-to-Hartford ride will likely follow this year’s Calais-to-Portland ride in 2018, not 2017.

Bonus: a bridge over a highway is to be installed one Saturday night early next year (perhaps in April?) and since the road will be closed, why not celebrate there with a midnight street party? Plans are afoot, and I am waiting on the details.

In New Jersey, momentum seems to be building for two key projects, One is a much better route across the Meadowlands, from Jersey City to Newark, that will be called the Essex and Hudson Greenway. It’s gone from concept to the start of a feasibility study in less than a year, which is just amazing. The other is an off-road road from the Middlesex Greenway in Edison to the Raritan River in Highland Park, on the other side of New Brunswick. That would then link with the D&R Canal towpath. Middlesex County appears to be serious about this, so let’s see how long it takes.

Pennsylvania has 10 East Coast Greenway projects under construction this year (one of them is already done!), and another nine are in planning and engineering or ready for construction next year. One is the extension of the Schuylkill River Trail to Bartram’s Garden. There are projects planned in every county from the New Jersey line to the Delaware line, though I don’t know how much easier an off-road ride from Trenton to Philadelphia will become without more work.

In Delaware, there’s just been the groundbreaking for a trail close to 9 miles long connecting Wilmington to New Castle that will replace a hellish 9 miles of roadway.

A few developments away from the Connecticut-to-Delaware corridor:

  • Rhode Island voters just passed a $35 million green bond that includes $10 million for bike paths.
  • Washington D.C. has just about finished a 9-mile route along the south side of Anacostia River that the East Coast Greenway considers its complementary route. Still to work out is the link back to the National Mall. But when I look at the overall plan for the Anacostia River Walk, I understand the construction boom in Southeast that I saw from the highway on the way back from Raleigh. Trails are an ammenity and help bring economic development!
  • Florida is spending $25 million annually on trails, and East Coast Greenway segments are priorities.

Day 5 — Annapolis to Alexandria, Virginia

How I could have used the East Coast Greenway when I biked from Alexandria to Annapolis as part of my cross-country ride in 2000!

on the mallHow I could have used the East Coast Greenway when I biked from Alexandria to Annapolis as part of my cross-country ride in 2000!

Back then, we couldn’t get a bike map of greater Washington D.C. and advice on the best route out of town. I remember riding on some fairly large roads, though traffic wasn’t bad. (I remember the two flats and the wet weather most clearly).

But this time…

I think Day 5 was even better than Day 4. Traffic was pretty light on our route out of Annapolis and included neighborhood streets and trails. Traffic stayed light and we kept hitting more trails as we got closer to D.C. Incredibly, if we weren’t on trails, we were on residential roads. Given the gridlock you see in D.C. (I mean the traffic kind, not the political kind), it was stunning how easy it was to get to the National Mall.

So here’s to the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail, the Anacostia Tributary Trail/Northeast Branch Trail and the Northwest Branch Trail, the Metropolitan Branch Trail and of course the Mount Vernon Trail for the last leg into Alexandria.

Here’s what an Alexandria newspaper reported about the ride and meeting with local officials.

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