Potomac Heritage–C&O Canal Loop

An 8-mile loop along the Potomac River, the first half in Virginia and the second half in the District.

  • 8.5 miles
Running time
  • hours
Total ascent/descent
  • 550 feet
    65 feet/mile


From Roosevelt Island follow the Potomac Heritage Trail 4 miles to Chain Bridge. Cross the Potomac River on Chain Bridge and pick up the C&O Canal Towpath and follow for 3.25 miles into Georgetown. After crossing under Key Bridge, leave the towpath on the small footbridge and climb up to Key Bridge through Francis Scott Key Park. Run across Key Bridge back to your car at Roosevelt Island.

To extend this run you can pick up the Battery Kimble Trail when you get to Fletcher’s Cove. See the Glover-Archbold–Palisades–C&O Canal Loop.

Note that the Potomac Heritage Trail is prone to flooding south of Chain Bridge, so this run is not advisable in the spring or after a hard rain.

Last updated February 10, 2023

What you do is up to you, but you shouldn't rely on these directions alone; they are often not specific enough to navigate by, and may be incorrect or out of date. Review a map beforehand and carry it with you. Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan to return. Do not count on having cell phone service while on the run. The VHTRC is not responsible for your welfare on any of these runs. If you go on one of these runs and get lost, run out of water, get injured, mauled by a bear, or die, or if anything else goes wrong, it's your fault; not ours. You assume all risks here and the VHTRC assumes none at all. Legal issues aside, some of these runs are more remote than others and the VHTRC is not suggesting that you do any of these runs, unless you are prepared to accept full responsibility for yourself.