clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

7 Local Hikes and Where to Eat Afterwards

Because nature is better when chased with a slice of pizza

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

What a view.
Photo: Sugarloaf Mountain

The last mile of a long hike goes by so much faster when there's a great meal to look forward to at the end. Vice versa, a burger or a slice of pizza tastes that much better after putting in the miles on a trail.

Here are seven beautiful parks to explore close to Washington, D.C. and the nearby restaurants where hikers can grab a bite afterwards to replace any expended calories. Keep reading for tips on how to get out into nature — but not so far out that a fish taco isn’t within reach.

Photo by John S. / Yelp

The hike: Billy Goat Trail

One of the most popular trails right near D.C., the Billy Goat Trail winds along the Potomac bypassing a pretty beach (swimming is not advised) and a rock scramble that gets a bit challenging. The trail spans eight miles, but attempting individual sections is always an alternative. Try to make it here early to beat the crowds.

Photo: Old Angler’s Inn

Lunch: Old Angler's Inn

This Potomac restaurant is a total classic (it's been in operation since 1860), and the patio is a beautiful place for a beer and a burger. Luckily, one won't feel out of place in athletic clothes here, post-hike.

Photo: Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

The hike: Potomac Heritage Trail

Perfect for a long run or leisurely walk, pick up the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail near Glen Echo Park or scenic Great Falls, Maryland.

Photo: Fish Taco

Lunch: Fish Taco

This local taqueria isn’t far from the trail (it’s near Lockhouse 11). Try to end any run or walk nearby and consider that license to order beer-battered fish tacos or a rice bowl along with an order of chips and queso.

Photo: Friends of the National Arboretum

The hike: National Arboretum

The United States National Arboretum encompasses 446 acres of flora and fauna right within D.C. limits, which is perfect for car-less city dwellers. Get dropped off in an Uber and then explore trails meandering through the arboretum’s Fern Valley, Asian Collections, Azalea Collections, and National Capitol Columns.

Albert Ting

Dinner: La Puerta Verde

New D.C. restaurant and bar hub Ivy City is just around the corner from the National Arboretum. Stop in to the newish La Puerta Verde for guacamole with lime and serrano peppers, and al pastor tacos, chased down with white sangria.

Photo: Rock Creek Park

The hike: Rock Creek Park

Escape the city without leaving D.C. at all: there’s plenty of hiking trails to explore right in Rock Creek Park. The newest is Klingle Trail, 27 years in the making, located just east of the intersection of Klingle and Woodley roads NW.

Photo: Bread Furst

Lunch: Bread Furst

Eat all the croissants, honey-glazed doughnuts, and ham and cheese baguettes at Bread Furst, the stylish bakery from James Beard award-winner Mark Furstenberg.

Photo: Sky Meadows State Park

The hike: Sky Meadows

The vistas of Virginia’s rolling hills and farmland are incredibly lovely, and there are many trail options to choose from at Sky Meadows. Say hi to Appalachian Trail thru-hikers and friendly chickens at the historic farm.

Photo: Barrel Oak Winery

Lunch: Barrel Oak Winery

This family-friendly Barrel Oak Winery is also extremely dog friendly, making it a perfect stop for furry hiking companions. Most weekends, food trucks are on hand to serve up eats like wood-fired brick oven pizza. Or check out Red Truck Rural Bakery in Marshall, Virginia, which once hosted President Obama.

Photo: Sugarloaf Mountain

The hike: Sugarloaf Mountain

Drive out near Frederick, Maryland for a fairly relaxing hike to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. The trails can get crowded, which is understandable considering how gorgeous the views are from the peak.

Photo: Rockwell Brewery

Lunch: Rockwell Brewery

Dog-friendly new beer garden Rockwell Brewery partnered up with Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal, so beer drinkers can order buckets of fried chicken and other popular Family Meal items.

Photo: Shenandoah National Park

The hike: Old Rag Mountain

Allow seven or eight hours to make it to the top of Old Rag, an extremely popular Shenandoah National Park hike. The trail includes a rock scramble at the end that’s a full-body workout.

Photo: Burgers ‘N Things

Dinner: Burgers ‘N Things

Cheeseburgers, fries, and shakes await at this quaint roadside stand in Sperryville, Virginia right near Old Rag. Feeling pizza instead? Hit the Brick Oven at Black Bear Bistro in nearby Warrenton.

La Puerta Verde

2001 Fenwick Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 290-1875 Visit Website

Bread Furst

4434 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, , DC 20008 (202) 765-1200 Visit Website

Old Anglers Inn

10801 Macarthur Boulevard, , MD 20854 (301) 365-2425 Visit Website

Fish Taco

7015 Wisconsin Avenue, , MD 20815 (301) 652-0010 Visit Website