Trail Discovery for Kids: Swamp and Woods Trail

Hike Information

  • 1.3 mile circuit hike.
  • The trail head is across the bridge, next to the kiosk.
  • The trail is flat and wide. Half of it is natural surface and the other a raised boardwalk.
  • This trail is jogging stroller friendly.
  • Follow the trail clockwise to visit all the natural play areas described below.
  • Link to the trail map.

Age Appropriateness

  • This hike is great for toddlers and preschoolers. However, older siblings will enjoy it too because of a challenging rock outcropping on the northeast side of the island.

What is fun for kids?

  • Walking in the middle of the Potomac River.
  • The trail is in two ecosystems, a deciduous forest and wetlands.
  • Seeing and hearing the big jets overhead, in addition to many plants and animals: frogs, skinks, fish, turtles, ducks, geese, and deer.
  • A toddler/preschool-size rock on the trail – instead of taking your first right to stay on the Swamp trail, follow it straight and the rock will be on your right.
  • Sandy beach with rocks, shells, and a fallen tree – after climbing on the toddler-size rock, take your first left towards the water. You will be facing the Key Bridge. Caution – retrace your steps back to the Swamp trail. Do not continue on the social/user path. It is too narrow with lots of poison ivy and fallen trees.
  • Large rock outcropping next to and in the river – at the four way intersection on the Swamp trail, go left to the rocks. Retrace your steps back and take a left back onto the Swamp trail. You will soon approach the boardwalk.
  • The monument is a great place for a picnic and a game of chase and hide and seek among the bushes.


  • The trail is not blazed or marked with signs.
  • MUDDY!

Hiking Along engages children in exploration of the natural world through hiking on scenic trails around the metro DC region. Groups of children, preschool to high school, participate in hands-on science activities to learn about the natural surroundings while hiking on trails. Visit for more information.

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OK Editorial Team

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