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Walking from Crystal City to DCA

Walking from Crystal City to DCA

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Old Feb 13, 07, 3:15 pm
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Walking from Crystal City to DCA

I remember several FTers posting on a TravelBuzz thread from a couple of years ago that it is possible to walk from Crystal City to DCA via the Mount Vernon Trail, and that there's both a "south" and "north" way to enter the airport on foot.

If the weather isn't too cold or icy, I'd like to try to walk to DCA on an upcoming trip just for kicks. I'll be flying Midwest, which leaves out of the old terminal (A). Where in Crystal City do I pick up the trail or street that leads to the airport?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 13, 07, 4:20 pm
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Yup, very possible

Originally Posted by wahooflyer View Post
I remember several FTers posting on a TravelBuzz thread from a couple of years ago that it is possible to walk from Crystal City to DCA via the Mount Vernon Trail, and that there's both a "south" and "north" way to enter the airport on foot.

If the weather isn't too cold or icy, I'd like to try to walk to DCA on an upcoming trip just for kicks. I'll be flying Midwest, which leaves out of the old terminal (A). Where in Crystal City do I pick up the trail or street that leads to the airport?

Thanks!
Yes, this is possible. I run on the trail all the time, but have never gone to the airport, so I can't remember exactly the best way to get from the Mount Vernon trail to the airport. But there are numerous forks off the trail that I assume go to various parts of the airport. Going south from Crystal City to the airport, Terminal A will be the last one. It might be easier to walk to the shuttle stop to take that to Terminal A.

In any case, you enter the trail from Crystal Drive between 15th and 18th Streets. There is a sign, and you'll see a big plaza area with a couple of waterfalls right by the entrance. That takes you on a ramp to the Mt. Vernon Trail, but even before you get on the main trail, you're on airport grounds, but I'm not sure where all the possible crossings are to the terminal.
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Old Feb 14, 07, 9:33 am
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It's very easy - I do it virtually every time I fly out of DCA.

For terminal A, the "south" way is better. Just walk south along Crystal Drive, past the Chipotle and the Starbucks, on the eastern side of the street. You'll see the ramp coming from down from the airport by the volleyball courts - continue walking up the ramp, which will wind to the left, and keep walking - follow the trail basically. You cross the GW Parkway on the bridge, and once on airport grounds, there will be (tiny) signs for the terminals. The trail is more or less marked with white lines on the ground, as you need to cross two or three parking lots. You'll also have two or three traffic lights to cross. All in all it takes about 15-20 mins.

The "north" way is better for terminals B and C, and it's a little shorter. The downside is that there is no proper trail, and that you need to cross the airport access road when there is a gap in traffic.
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Old Feb 14, 07, 9:39 am
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I have know someone who does walk but since I usually have a siutcase I just take the metro one stop down.
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Old Feb 15, 07, 9:53 am
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Originally Posted by chtiet View Post
It's very easy - I do it virtually every time I fly out of DCA.


The "north" way is better for terminals B and C, and it's a little shorter. The downside is that there is no proper trail, and that you need to cross the airport access road when there is a gap in traffic.
I run the trail also.

There is a way to get to the north entrance. If you enter the trail as others have suggested (near the Water Park), you'll cross under the GW parkway. The path then takes a big clockwise turn uphill and you'll wind up at the intersection to the Mt. Vernon Trail. Take a right on to the foot bridge that crosses over the GWP off-ramp. About .1 mile after the end of the footbridge will be a left-hand spur off the trail. Follow this one for about 100 yds and you'll come out in a small airport maintenance yard and will be facing the main DCA access road. You'll see an underground walkway that goes under the access road and pops up in the parking garage across the street. From there, you just walk through the parking garage to the terminal as if you had driven there.

No need to cheat death to cross the main drag!
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Old Feb 20, 07, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
I run the trail also.

No need to cheat death to cross the main drag!
We've probably passed each other a few times .

Cool, didn't know that, will have to scope it out.

Incidentally, just walked to Crystal City from DCA going the "south" way yesterday - would not recommend it at the moment as on the bridge there is a thick layer of packed ice on the sidewalk...
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Old Mar 11, 12, 12:02 pm
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Hey Folks.. I am flying into DCA today... Thinking about walking to the Marriott ren... Am I mad? Better off getting a cab?
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Old Mar 11, 12, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by cyclogenesis View Post
Hey Folks.. I am flying into DCA today... Thinking about walking to the Marriott ren... Am I mad? Better off getting a cab?
Are you talking about the Rennaisance Arlington Capital View hotel? Walking the "south way" should be very doable. Note that they have complimentary shuttle service to/from DCA - call 1 703 413 1300 for a pickup.

Beautiful new property, by the way.
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Old Mar 11, 12, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Annandaler View Post
Are you talking about the Rennaisance Arlington Capital View hotel? Walking the "south way" should be very doable. Note that they have complimentary shuttle service to/from DCA - call 1 703 413 1300 for a pickup.

Beautiful new property, by the way.
Thanks! I ended up getting the shuttle..

Boy, you said it... Newly minted gold, I am up on the 14th floor.. about to check out the lounge...
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Old Mar 11, 12, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by cyclogenesis View Post
Thanks! I ended up getting the shuttle..

Boy, you said it... Newly minted gold, I am up on the 14th floor.. about to check out the lounge...
Just a shot in the dark, but are you in town for the ASR Science Team Meeting?
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Old Mar 12, 12, 7:46 am
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Originally Posted by cyclogenesis View Post
Hey Folks.. I am flying into DCA today... Thinking about walking to the Marriott ren... Am I mad? Better off getting a cab?
i don't know where the marriot ren is, but the bike path was beautiful yesterdy(very cowded), ans should be very beautiful today(much less crowd) it won't get nicer for a walk in dc.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
There is a way to get to the north entrance. If you enter the trail as others have suggested (near the Water Park), you'll cross under the GW parkway.
Here's a little map that I drew of the direct-but-dangerous vs. indirect-but-grade-separated paths from the north route to DCA:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/paytonc/6266966394/

I sometimes use Capital Bikeshare to get to Crystal City and then walk the rest of the way. Haven't used the south route before, but since there's a CaBi dock right at the volleyball courts, it might be more efficient for UA flights out of Terminal B.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 7:56 am
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I've done the South route many times, especially when I am renting a car. While the walk isn't too bad, it does seem quite indirect. Once you hit the EPA buildings you have to walk all the way up to the volleyball courts, then back track up the ramp. It would be nice if there was access from the southern side to the access road. Even once you've crossed the GW parkway it seems like the paths kind of take you a bit out of the way versus walking directly towards the terminals.

Since I live at the very southern end, I've been thinking about trying the Four Mile Trail to MV trail, but I haven't yet only because you have to go down a pretty steep hill to get there.
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Old Apr 10, 12, 3:12 pm
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Originally Posted by paytonc View Post
Here's a little map that I drew of the direct-but-dangerous vs. indirect-but-grade-separated paths from the north route to DCA:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/paytonc/6266966394/

I sometimes use Capital Bikeshare to get to Crystal City and then walk the rest of the way. Haven't used the south route before, but since there's a CaBi dock right at the volleyball courts, it might be more efficient for UA flights out of Terminal B.
Cheers - for everyone, this is an accurate and actually very good map for the options to Crystal City from the Airport.

I live about a 15 minute walk from the airport, using the 'direct' route, and it's the only one I do - so if you see some guy walking across the streets here, it might be me :-)

Just for folks who use CaBi, there is a station adjacent to the South of the entrance to the Water Park, at 20th & Crystal Drive, which is a quick walk to the underpass of the VRE/Amtrak trains, and the entrance to both of these walkways listed in the picture.

-jeremy
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Old May 5, 15, 1:20 am
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This summer, Crystal City is running a #DCAwalk social media contest. Document your #DCAwalk, share it online, and you could win an exciting weekend in Crystal City. (Second prize: two weekends in Crystal City? Just joking!)

To encourage people to make the trip, they've helpfully added directional signage along area sidewalks, and posted a clearer online map of the access routes.

This map spurred a Tweeter to respond with a map of the the dangerous/direct north route. Basically, cross the road at the stone airport sign (a two-lane off-ramp, then one lane), walk into the Cell Phone parking lot, and walk under the tracks to the Metro station/dog park.(Yes, you'll have to dash across 40 MPH off-ramps, but this is no worse than typical traffic in, say, downtown Dallas.)

In related news, the National Park Service reiterated its support for expanding Capital Bikeshare to eight sites along the Mount Vernon Trail -- including two at DCA, and one at Gravelly Point.

Last edited by paytonc; May 5, 15 at 1:05 pm
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