Wednesday, September 23, 2009

National Harbor and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail

We took a trip to National Harbor to walk the recently opened trail that runs along the Potomac River, crosses the Capital Beltway, and continues to Virginia over the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge.

The street slopes down toward the Potomac River. The new Wilson Bridge is in the background.

Here is a closer look at the waterfront. The right hand from The Awakening is visible on the mini beach.

Here is some of the artwork along the stairs leading down toward the water.

A closer look at The Awakening.

What good is art if you can't climb on it?

A view of National Harbor from one of the two piers.

A sneaker floats in the water nearby. Luckily, it's not attached to a body.

The start of the paved trail. The part of the trail that is on the National Harbor property is made of crushed shells. It's not great for bike riding, and many people find National Harbor to be unfriendly to bike riders (see this article and blog post from last summer). Both of those stories mention lack of parking for bicycles in National Harbor, and the presence of a security guard that asks bicyclist to dismount as they enter the National Harbor property. During our trip, there was a new bike rack at the end of the trail in National Harbor, and no security guard was present. There was a sign instructing bike riders to dismount.

Here is the view from the trail as it winds close to the Capital Beltway. The bridge seen in the top-center of the picture is part of the trail.

A view of National Harbor from the trail.

I had heard that people spotted eagles near the Wilson Bridge. We did see one flying very high in the sky over the water between National Harbor and the Wilson Bridge. I really had to search the sky to see it, and when I did see it without the camera, I wasn't completely sure that it was an eagle.

One day I hope to get a "big boy" camera, but right now I am using a Canon PowerShot SX10IS. One of the features that I like most is the 20x optical zoom. I took maybe 40 pictures of the eagle, and I copy/pasted the five best into the collage above. Even with the 20x zoom, the images are still blurry, but they're clear enough to make out that this is an eagle. I did see some people on the trail with fancy photography equipment, and I developed a case of lens envy.

At one point, a sea gull flew close to the eagle, and I thought that maybe we would witness a kill. It was not to be.

A view from the trail near the bridge over the Capital Beltway. The trail slopes up toward the bridge - no stairs.

On the bridge.

Here is Sergeant Gregg from the Maryland Natonal Park Police riding a motorized scooter. The trail is patroled every day from 5:00am to midnight.

You can take segway tours from National Harbor. The woman in the front is guiding the tour. Notice how she's looking back over her shoulder instead of watching where she's driving? She nearly ran into my son, but she never knew. The guy on the left is driving around a blind corner in the wrong lane while checking out the views to the right.

Looking toward Virginia from the trail bridge.

Ramp leading from the trail bridge to the North side of the Wilson Bridge. The people in the picture told us that they saw wild turkeys near the trees on the right.

We saw a single Maryland State Trooper pull over 5 or 6 cars leaving Maryland on the inner loop. Beware of the speed trap!

A view of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial from the Wilson Bridge.

A view of the Washington Monument from the Wilson Bridge. It's not leaning. I must have been.

Another view from the Wilson Bridge. The National Cathedral can be seen on the top-left. A plane lands at National Airport in the center of the picture.

This was where two tired kids convinced us to stop and turn around.


  1. Wow that's a great collection of pictures. The eagle handiwork is really cool. I've always wanted to walk across the Wilson Bridge, especially since there's a path now. Maybe I'll get around to it one of these years.

  2. Thanks Cyndy. At some point I would like to try it from the Virginia side. We reached our limit with the kids when we were barely on the bridge. I think you can follow the paths on the Virginia side all the way to the city.