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Rock Creek Park Loop: Western Ridge to Valley Trails

Intermediate
 4.0 (23) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A beautiful loop through Rock Creek Park, a D.C. Metro Area oasis.


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Map Key

8.8

Miles

14.2

KM

Loop

305' 93 m

High

73' 22 m

Low

484' 147 m

Up

485' 148 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

A complete natural escape from the busy streets of Washington, DC. The rugged and rocky terrain of the Valley Trail - South, and the smooth horse trail of the Western Ridge Trail, make for a solid hike in the middle of the nation's capitol.

Need to Know

There are lots of unmarked trails that take you out of the park, so be sure to follow the blazes.

Description

From the parking area, head straight up the steep hill and into the woods on Western Ridge Trail. Western Ridge Trail is a mostly smooth trail traversing the entire western side of Rock Creek Park. Eventually, you'll cross over Military Road.

Continue on the bike path for roughly .25 miles before jumping back on the dirt up to the Maryland border.

At the border, cross the road/creek to pick up the Valley Trail - North and eventually Valley Trail - South all the way back to the parking area. These wonderful trails run along Rock Creek up to the Maryland border for about 5.6 Miles, but don't be fooled by the word "valley" in their names. The trails have plenty of elevation change as they twist and turn alongside the river.

Contrary to the Western Ridge Trail, the Valley Trail's path is a bit more rugged. Watch your footing through rocks, roots and narrow passages. While you'll find fewer hikers along the Valley Trail, this is probably the most popular trail in the park and a great place to see wildlife like deer and black snakes.

This is the best that Rock Creek Park has to offer!

Contacts

Shared By:

Doug Hay

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 23 votes

#705

Overall
  4.0 from 23 votes
5 Star
30%
4 Star
43%
3 Star
22%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#705

Overall
439 Views Last Month
12,065 Since Jan 9, 2015
Intermediate

0%
0%
90%
0%
10%
0%

Photos

View of Rock Creek from the Valley Trail
Jan 9, 2015 near Washington, DC
Western Ridge Trail
Jan 9, 2015 near Washington, DC
Pine Trail.
Mar 8, 2016 near Washington, DC
Ash leaves.
Mar 8, 2016 near Washington, DC
Boulder Bridge over Rock Creek.
Mar 8, 2016 near Washington, DC
Yellow Trout Lily.
Apr 15, 2016 near Washington, DC

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Check-Ins

Jul 2, 2020
Kate Phillips
May 24, 2020
Stephanie Rose
10.4mi — 3h 20m
Feb 8, 2020
Susan Schaefer
Oct 10, 2019
Kristen May
May 10, 2019
Monique Park
Apr 18, 2019
Robbyn Brown
Apr 7, 2019
Maria N
10mi
Mar 24, 2019
Richard Gear

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