Theodore Roosevelt Island

This post is one in a series of Ten DC Walks  The pins in the map below show where I stopped to take pictures but also serve to outline the route!

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.15.31 PMTheodore Roosevelt Island is in the Potomac River between the Arlington, VA neighborhood of Rosslyn and the Washington, DC neighborhood of Georgetown.  A footbridge takes you from the VA side to the island and once there you are in a different world.

A footbridge brings you from the Virginia side of the Potomac to Roosevelt Island.
A footbridge brings you from the Virginia side of the Potomac to Roosevelt Island.

For a city park, it is remarkably peaceful!  The stretch of water by the footbridge is narrow and calm and often hosts kayaks, canoes and on this day, a paddle-boarder.

The stretch of water by the footbridge is calm and often hosts paddle-boards, kayaks, and canoes.
The stretch of water by the footbridge is calm and often hosts paddle-boards, kayaks, and canoes.

The island is filled with gentle hiking trails and different eco-systems.  Marsh, swamp, and soft green forest are all found here.  At the edges of the island the urban cityscape is plainly visible but for most of the walk you find yourself in a different world.

A view of Arlington, VA's Rosslyn neighborhood from under the Roosevelt bridge.
A view of Arlington, VA’s Rosslyn neighborhood from under the Roosevelt bridge.

For this 3-mile walk I did a wide circuit around the perimeter of the island, and then wound in to the interior.  In the center is a plaza and monument to Theodore Roosevelt, including a 15-foot statue of TR himself.

The center of the island has a charming plaza, featuring a 15 ft statue of Teddy Roosevelt .
The center of the island has a charming plaza, featuring a 15 ft statue of Teddy Roosevelt .

The plaza is a pleasant park with fountains and different levels.  It is an idyllic spot for picnics, families out for a hike, and joggers.

Though the city is not far away, you would think you're in the middle of nowhere!
Though the city is not far away, you would think you’re in the middle of nowhere!
One of the many eco-systems found on the island is a wide marsh.
One of the many eco-systems found on the island is a wide marsh.
There is also a swamp, ebbing and flowing with the tide and rich with various creatures.
There is also a swamp, ebbing and flowing with the tide and rich with various creatures.

It’s a little tricky to get there because you have to be on the north-bound George Washington Parkway–which sounds easy enough, but try it!

Most of the island is accessible by a network of gentle hiking trails.
Most of the island is accessible by a network of gentle hiking trails.
A wide boardwalk takes you through marsh, swamp, and forest on the back side of the island.
A wide boardwalk takes you through marsh, swamp, and forest on the back side of the island.

Once there you can hike in any direction.  On the DC side of the island a wide boardwalk keeps you out of the swamp and marshy areas.  Along with ducks and wildflowers you will also see great views of Georgetown, Key Bridge, Rosslyn, and the Roosevelt Bridge.

The view of Georgetown’s Washington harbor on this day included a glimpse of the Pirate Ship.

Georgetown's Washington Harbor.
Georgetown’s Washington Harbor.
The view of Georgetown from Roosevelt Island.  At top is the skyline of Georgetown University, with Key Bridge in front and under that, the boathouses that host crew teams.
The view from the western tip of Roosevelt Island. Georgetown University, Key Bridge and the crew team boathouses.

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