A Last Walk of the Monuments — On the Virginia Side of the Potomac

My last blog that featured a Walk of the Monuments followed the traditional to tour on the DC side of the Potomac.  This year I found a less well known, but equally enjoyable, walk of the monuments on the Virginia side of the Potomac.  In many ways I like it more because there many fewer people and more opportunities for sightings of wildlife.

The walk starts by taking Metro (Blue or Orange line) to the Rosslyn Metro station.  Exit the main entrance and turn right for half a block where you turn left downhill on Wilson Blvd.  Go one block and cross over Lynn Street where you turn right.  Continue walking on Lynn for two long blocks until you cross over a highway.  Just beyond the highway, you will see the Iwo Jima Memorial on your left.  At sunset on Tuesdays during the summer you can see Marine Corp “Sunset Parade.”

Iwo Jima with band

Or if you get there after dark, you can get a great view of the memorial at night, along with the Washington Monument in the background.

Iwo Jima with WA monument

After enjoying the Iwo Jima Memorial, continue to follow the path that keeps the memorial on your left and heads downhill.  This path leads to the Carillon, presented by the Netherlands to the US after WWII.  The flowers around the Carillon can be spectacular depending on the time of year you are there.



Continue downhill along the path that parallels the street on your right.  This will take you to a little known entrance to Arlington Cemetery.

Small cemetary entrance

Follow the path that winds through the gravestones.   Each time you take the walk there are different images and experiences.

Headstones in cemetery


Arlington Cemetery with Snow

Continue up to the top of the first set of stairs and turn left, which then takes you to the main entrance to the Cemetery.

Stairs to cemetary entrance

View to cemetary entrance

If you have enough time, take time to explore other parts of the cemetery, which can be quite varied depending on the time of year.

Cemetary in fall

Wa Mon from cemetary in fall

Lee house

DC from Cemetery

If you have limited time turn left at the main entrance and head down the broad street toward the Lincoln Memorial on the opposite side of the Potomac.

View from cemetery to Lincoln

As you pass the visitor center on your right be sure to get on the right side of the street.  As you near the large traffic circle just before you go over the Memorial Bridge, you will see a sign that directs you to the Mt. Vernon trail, which will take you back to the Rosslyn Metro station.

Mt Vernon trail sign

Follow the path until you cross over the first road.  Be careful crossing the road.  Cars are supposed to stop, but one never trusts DC drivers.  On the other side of the road turn right and cross the second road.  Follow the path as it winds toward the Potomac and crosses one more road.  Turn left immediately after crossing the third road. You are now on the way back to Rosslyn.  Enjoy the views of the water, birds and monuments on the other side of the Potomac.

Heron on Potomac 1

Jefferson with heliocopters

Lincoln and WA monument

Lincoln-WA mon- capitol from VA

The view is also great at around dusk, but I suggest you take a flashlight if you go on the walk as it is getting dark.

Wa mon and capitol from VA at night

Stay on the path as it goes past Teddy Roosevelt Island and continue over the bridge that crosses the highway.  A short distance after the bridge you emerge back at Lynn Street just before it crosses the Key Bridge.  Turn left and walk the couple blocks back to the Rosslyn Metro station.  If you don’t get distracted too much during the walk, you should be back in a little under an hour and covered a little under four miles.

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1 Response to A Last Walk of the Monuments — On the Virginia Side of the Potomac

  1. Tom Keller says:

    Brilliant series – I see another book in your future!! Another ‘monument of sorts’ near the metro station in Rosslyn (actual site is just up N. Nash street from Wilson Blvd, so go up the hill from the metro) is the parking garage where ‘Deep Throat’ gave the information about the Watergate break-ins to Woodward and Bernstein. There is (or was) a small marker outside and I understand the garage itself is due to replaced soon.

    Travel well.

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