Located at the intersection of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Washington Channel in Washington, D.C. is a thin island called Hains Point, a popular riding spot for cyclists. Stretching like a finger from the southwest area of Washington into the water and connected to the mainland by a handful of bridges, Hains Point features a 4-mile road that's light on cars and heavy on outdoor enthusiasts. Inside the road that rings the point is the East Potomac Golf Course. The route offers views of the D.C. skyline, monuments, and even Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, so enjoy the sights as you work on your straight-line speed or simply pedal around on a sunny weekend day.
What Makes It Great
Cycling in the middle of a city can be a challenge because of vehicle traffic, but not so on Hains Point. There are relatively few cars once you head down Ohio Drive toward the tip of the island. And the one-way road is flat, so you won't have to worry about it tilting toward the sky. Even better, parts of Ohio Drive — situated in East Potomac Park — are closed to cars on weekends.
Starting at the top right corner of the island puts you next to the Jefferson Memorial. And behind you is the Tidal Basin, which is lined with the famous cherry trees that turn the basin into a sea of majestic white every April when the blossoms bloom. Heading south from that point goes along the Washington Channel, which features wharfs, marinas, and parks.
Once you reach the bottom of the island, follow the road around the bend and look across the water to your left to watch planes taking off and landing at Reagan Airport while you pedal north. Once further up, the Pentagon is off to your left, and behind that are the perfectly straight rows of grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery.
If you want to continue riding, keep following the road north, keeping the Jefferson Memorial on your right, and ride into West Potomac Park. Up ahead is the Lincoln Memorial and miles of other trails.
Who is Going to Love It
Road cyclists looking for a spot to work on straight-line speed. Clubs and teams frequent Hains Point year-round as they practice riding in a paceline and in tight groups that simulate racing. Hains Point is also a popular spot for sightseeing riders who want to view the nation's capital from two wheels.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several roads in and out of Washington and it can get confusing with one-way roads in the Tidal Basin area, so it's best to consult with a map or GPS device for exact driving directions. If you're coming by bike, ride to the Lincoln Memorial, turn south on 23rd Street, and then hop onto either Ohio Drive or the bike trail just outside the road.
East Potomac Park has more than 300 parking spots spread between small lots and spaces along the street.