Kingman and Heritage Islands Park (Photo: Rachel Cooper)
Kick off a new series of local hikes by celebrating the centennial of Anacostia Park and the rich history of the riverfront community in Southeast Washington that borders it. Land along the 8.7-mile Anacostia River was preserved for a park by an act of Congress in August 1918, and today is a vibrant urban retreat that extends from Maryland’s Prince George’s County to Washington, D.C., and is filled with diverse natural features.
Rachel Cooper and Renee Sklarew, authors of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington D.C., lead a day that includes hiking along some of the Anacostia’s most scenic spots. Begin an easy 1.5-mile walk along Kingman and Heritage Islands Park, during which Cooper and Sklarew discuss the river’s history, restoration efforts, and future development. From there, walk another 2 miles along the Anacostia Riverwalk to the 11th Street Bridge, where an elevated bridge park is in the pre-construction phase.
Next, head to Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens for a picnic lunch and a short walk along the River Trail to explore the historic ponds and learn about the flora and fauna of this aquatic habitat. The final stop is the Anacostia Community Museum, for a guided 1-hour tour and a discussion of the history of the neighborhood along the Anacostia River.
Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes, and bring a day pack and water bottle; picnic lunch provided; total hiking distance is 4 miles.