Places to Go - Spring Family Hikes at Potmac Overlook Park (Arlington, VA) & Riverbend Park (Great Falls, VA)

Can we all admit that it was a LONG, COLD winter? Usually in VA we'll have a few days of freezing cold, followed by a 60 or 70 degree "break" period. But not this year. This year the cold came and stayed, reminding me of Michigan winters. Luckily spring has arrived, so we've spent the past two weekends hiking as a family. Turns out my children NEEDED to run.

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1. Hike Number One - Donaldson Run Potomac Overlook Park - My kids love this hike because it involves multiple stream crossing (hence, multiple opportunities to become wet and dirty). Last week's hike was a little trickier than usual because T slid and FULLY IMMERSED himself in the stream, so we had to cobble together various scarfs and sweatshirts to keep him warm. Still, this is a favorite hike, especially in spring, where an overlook gives you full views of the Potomac (you can actually hike to the Potomac as the path merges with the Potomac Heritage Trail, but with a soaking wet child, we decided to turn around). I have no idea what the total mileage is. And this IS NOT stroller friendly.

Directions - I found this map online. We take the Brown Creeper Connector Trail down to the stream. At the bottom of the hill, the Brown Creeper connects with the Donaldson Run Trail - if you follow the trail to the right, you'll eventually hook up with the Potomac River. If you opt for the trail on your left, you'll loop back to the parking lot. We usually hike to the Potomac then turn around and follow the Donaldson Run trail through the woods and back to our car.

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2. Hike Number 2 - Riverbend Park to Great Falls, VA - This is more of a walk than a hike, as the trail stays flat and there are no stream crossings. But the views are gorgeous, especially in early spring/late winter when the trees are still bare. We even saw a swan. Plus, if you hike into Great Falls you don't have to pay admission (score!!) and my kids love climbing on all the boulders on the sides of the path.

Directions - We learned about this hike from Kidfriendly DC, click here to read her wonderful directions. The total hike is around 3.5 to 4 miles. And, while I've seen people with strollers navigate the path, it does not look like an easy thing to do (esp. through the "boulder field").

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