Hiking Project Logo

Rock Creek Park

Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Overview

Rock Creek Park provides visitors with convenient access to the great outdoors. A relief from the surrounding urban landscape of the nation's capital, the park features old deciduous trees, a variety of birds and small mammals, and the flowing Rock Creek.

To learn more about Rock Creek Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
Opening and closing dates and hours vary for visitor centers at Rock Creek Park. Check the park's website for current operating hours.
  • Nature Center: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year Day).
  • Planetarium: Wednesdays at 4:00 pm (Young Planetarium), Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 pm (Seasonal Night Sky), Saturdays and Sundays at 4:00 pm (Exploring the Universe).
  • Old Stone House: Open 11:00 am to 6:00 pm every day (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year Day)
  • Pierce Mill and Barn: (April 1 to October 1) Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. (November 1 to March 31) Open Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Visiting Tips

Rock Creek Park is open during daylight hours, 365 days a year.

Fees and Passes:
Park entrance and programs are free. For more details on permits and reservations check the park's website.

Camping & Lodging

There are no accommodations within the park but they can easily be found in the surrounding metropolitan area.

Food & Drink

Food services are not available at Rock Creek Park, but can be found in the nearby cities of Bethesda, Chevy Chase, or one of the neighborhoods north of downtown Washington D.C.

Visitors are welcome to picnic in the area but must make reservations online at www.recreation.gov. For more information on park picnic grove reservations, call the Rock Creek Park Permits Office at (202) 895-6013.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Ranger-led Tours:
Rock Creek Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs that vary by season. All programs, unless otherwise specified, are free. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

Cell Phone Audio Tours:
The park offers a free, two-minute narration on a number of features in the park. For more information, click here.

The park does not offer a shuttle service but for more information on directions to the park, click here.

Other Activities

In addition to exploring any of the 32 miles of trails in the park, visitors to Rock Creek Park will not be disappointed by the variety of other activities that are offered. Horseback riding, biking, tennis, golf, and boating are among the many activities that the park affords seasonally. Check in with the park's website for more information.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in Rock Creek Park - 4

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

gem Favorite Cascading fountain.

Meridian Hill Fountain

(9) Washington, DC
gem Favorite Catch a view of the sky

Planetarium Programs

(3) Washington, DC
gem Favorite Catch a view of the sky

Discovery Hunt

(1) Washington, DC
gem Favorite Peirce Mill

Peirce Mill

(6) Washington, DC

Recommended Routes in Rock Creek Park - 7

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Recommended Routes

Favorite View of Rock Creek from the Valley Trail
Intermediate

Rock Creek Park Loop: Western Ridge to Valley Trails

8.8 mi 14.2 km 484' Up 147.49 m Up 485' Down 147.73 m Down

Washington, DC
Favorite Western Ridge Trail
Intermediate

Boulder Bridge Loop

3.1 mi 5.0 km 270' Up 82.22 m Up 263' Down 80.05 m Down

Washington, DC
Favorite View of Rock Creek from the Valley Trail
Intermediate/Difficult

Valley Trail - Entire Length

5.4 mi 8.6 km 293' Up 89.24 m Up 397' Down 121.01 m Down

Silver…, MD
Favorite Western Ridge Trail Moderate (upper). Some trunk-jumping and semi-steep descent/ascents.
Easy

TRACK Trail

1.9 mi 3.1 km 19' Up 5.66 m Up 19' Down 5.7 m Down

Washington, DC
Favorite Capitol stones in Rock Creek Park.
Intermediate

Rapids Bridge Loop

2.0 mi 3.1 km 241' Up 73.47 m Up 239' Down 72.99 m Down

Washington, DC
Favorite White-tailed deer in Rock Creek Park.
Intermediate

Milkhouse Ford Loop

1.7 mi 2.7 km 253' Up 77.07 m Up 257' Down 78.29 m Down

Washington, DC
Favorite Yellow Trout Lily.
Easy

Rock Creek Valley Loop

1.3 mi 2.1 km 35' Up 10.78 m Up 35' Down 10.76 m Down

Washington, DC

Rock Creek Park Hiking

  • 54 Miles 87 Kilometers of Trail
  • 7 Recommended Routes
  • 4 Gems Gems
  • 13 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 18 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 0 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

Weather Averages


High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w/
 
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Trails in Rock Creek Park - 24

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

3.1 mi 5.0 km #1Valley Trail - North
Intermediate/Difficult
Washington, DC
Intermediate/Difficult
Washington, DC
1.6 mi 2.5 km #2Black Horse Trail (South)
Intermediate/Difficult
Washington, DC
Intermediate/Difficult
Washington, DC
3.7 mi 6.0 km #3Western Ridge Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Silver Spring, MD
Intermediate/Difficult
Silver Spring, MD
1.0 mi 1.6 km #4Melvin C. Hazen Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Washington, DC
Intermediate/Difficult
Washington, DC
2.1 mi 3.3 km #5Valley Trail - South
Intermediate/Difficult
Washington, DC
Intermediate/Difficult
Washington, DC
0.9 mi 1.4 km #6Soapstone Valley Foot Trail
Intermediate
Washington, DC
Intermediate
Washington, DC
1.8 mi 3.0 km #7Bike Trail #5 - Klingle Road Bridge South
Easy
Washington, DC
Easy
Washington, DC
0.4 mi 0.6 km #8Piney Branch Foot Trail
Easy
Washington, DC
Easy
Washington, DC
0.6 mi 0.9 km #9Holly Trail
Intermediate
Washington, DC
Intermediate
Washington, DC
0.3 mi 0.5 km #10Pine Trail
Easy
Washington, DC
Easy
Washington, DC

Photos of Rock Creek Park - 42

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

Western Ridge Trail Moderate (upper). Some trunk-jumping and semi-steep descent/ascents.
Mar 23, 2019 near Washington, DC
Fun and easy stream crossing along the Melvin C. Hazen trail, Nov. 2018.
Dec 12, 2018 near Washington, DC
Melvin Hazen Trail between Conn. Ave & Rock Creek Park. Several rock-hopping stream crossings required.
Mar 23, 2019 near Washington, DC
BK West of Glover-Archbold Path connector
Mar 11, 2019 near Washington, DC
Whitehave Trail Entrance runs along stream draining into Rock Creek. Frequent use by NPS Mounted Corps.
Mar 11, 2019 near Washington, DC
Small stream waterfalls along the Melvin C. Hazen Trail, Nov. 2018.
Dec 12, 2018 near Washington, DC
Cascading fountain.
Apr 21, 2016 near Washington, DC
View of Rock Creek from the Valley Trail
Jan 9, 2015 near Washington, DC