A Perfect Multisport Day in DC

Locals enjoy a sunset paddle at the Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown
Locals enjoy a sunset paddle at the Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown Key Bridge Boathouse
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Here's to the hardcore adventure fiends who don't want to stick to just one sport a day. If you love to mix it up and have the chops to do so, why not bike, trail run, and play on the water all within 24 hours? Whether you are training for a multisport event, or simply can't decide whether to ride, run, or paddle, here's a fun outing that combines all three for a great overall workout in one excursion.

It all begins at the Georgetown waterfront on the west end of K Street. This area is a scene in general and parking is no different. Saturday and Sunday summer mornings are crazy as the area becomes a jumping off point for activities in every direction. Start out early and wait for a spot—they usually become available pretty quickly. We hear that exercising patience helps to expedite the process.

Facing west you will see the Key Bridge Boathouse and the Potomac River on your left. This is where you the last leg of your trip finishes up. But first, hop on your wheels and start your ride.

Bike to Bethesda and back on the Capital Crescent Trail (11 miles)

Biker rides across the Arizona Avenue Bridge along the Capital Crescent Trail
Biker rides across the Arizona Avenue Bridge along the Capital Crescent Trail Wikimedia Commons

The Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) starts in Georgetown and rides parallel along the C&O Canal for three miles to Bethesda, Maryland. About one mile up the trail, the path will fork—stay left on the paved path (the gravel path along the C&O Canal to the right will add many miles to your ride, taking you to Great Falls and onward all the way to Pittsburg.) The Capital Crescent follows a slight, steady incline through trees and over bridges, and like most bike paths in the area, it is typically pretty busy on weekends and during commuter hours. You'll also be sharing the path with joggers, strollers, walkers, and rollerbladers, but bikes rule the roost. Suburban Bethesda is a great place to stop for a snack and a wander around before peddling back to Georgetown. The return is a steady downhill route and will bring you to the starting point of leg two.

Run along the C&O Canal towpath to Fletcher's Cove and back (3 miles) 

Two pathways along the C&O Canal guide you from the entrance of the towpath in Georgetown to Fletcher's Boathouse in leg two of this multi-sport excursion
Two pathways along the C&O Canal guide you from the entrance of the towpath in Georgetown to Fletcher's Boathouse in leg two of this multi-sport excursion Fletcher's Boat House

At the same departure point where you started your ride to Bethesda, pick either the paved (Capital Crescent) or gravel (C&O Canal) trail and start your run to Fletcher's Cove. The trail diverges into two routes and meets again at marker 3.1 where you will find your turnaround point. Fletcher's has services and is a great place to cool down with a snack or a drink and to watch the boaters fish the day away. But don't sit too long, you still have the third leg of your adventure to complete.

Kayak the Potomac waterways (one-hour)

Locals enjoy a sunset paddle at Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown
Locals enjoy a sunset paddle at Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown Key Bridge Boathouse

Finish the last leg of your multisport excursion with a kayak or SUP rental and a relaxing jaunt on the active Potomac waterways for a cool down. It won't take you long to notice that this is one of the most popular places on the water. You will run into a mixed bag here—Georgetown University students, first dates, families, crew teams, and locals from the neighboring DC canoe club all stretching their oars in the water. If you can time it just right, you can finish the day participating in a sunset paddling session beneath a sunlit Key Bridge, one of the District's most beloved landmarks, and a beautiful one under a vibrant pink sky.

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