Status: Open to the public
Length: 7.0 miles
Trail Condition: Fair
Notes: Use caution at all street crossings, where heavy traffic and high speeds are common.
The 7-mile Fort Circle Park Hiker-Biker Trail connects the sites of six Union Army forts built during the Civil War via a continuous greenway on a ridge east of the Anacostia River. As the name suggests, the trail is one of only a few in the District of Columbia open to mountain bikers as well as hikers. The surface is mostly dirt, with some stretches of gravel and pavement.
The Ward 8 section of the trail (the southernmost one mile) is maintained by Ward 8 Woods in partnership with the Student Conservation Association and National Capital Parks-East.
The trail enters Ward 8 at Naylor Road, and meanders 0.4. miles before crossing Good Hope Road. Continuing south, it passes through a floodplain where several streams converge to form the Ft. Stanton Tributary of the Anacostia River. After crossing a high bridge, it climbs the hill towards the earthworks of Fort Stanton and Battery Rickets.
For a detailed guide to the entire Fort Circle Park Hiker-Biker Trail, we recommend Andrew Wojtanik’s Live and Let Hike blog.
Unfortunately, much of the land the trail passes through is infested with invasive vines including wisteria, porcelain berry, knotweed, euonymus, and kudzu. Ward 8 Woods is working continuously to beat back their advance and plans to plant native trees to restore gaps in the forest canopy.
The trail’s southern terminus is opposite the Anacostia Community Museum, a branch of the Smithsonian, focusing on urban community life. Behind the museum is the George Washington Carver Nature Trail.
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