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Rock Creek Park Loop: Western Ridge to Valley Trails

 10 votes

8.8 Miles 14.2 Kilometers


60%

Singletrack

484' 147 m

Ascent

-485' -148 m

Descent

305' 93 m

High

73' 22 m

Low

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

Minor Issues

55 days agoUpdate

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

Doug Hay

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.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: Leashed

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!

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4.1 from 10 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Oct 14, 2017
J C
8.9mi
Sep 4, 2017
Jared MacBride
Valley Trail is closed going south from the police station on Beach Drive.
Aug 26, 2017
Craig R
Jul 23, 2017
Theo Harkness
Jul 16, 2017
Jessica Darago
4.7mi
Jun 17, 2017
Rachel Perrone
8.8mi
Apr 1, 2017
Brian Blunt-Zuniga
Make sure you keep an eye out for the blazes as there are a lot of side trails not on the map. 9mi — 4h 00m
Oct 30, 2016
Victor Marshall

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Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 10 votes

#1472

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  4.1 from 10 votes
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Rankings

#1,472

Overall
156 Views Last Month
4,004 Since Jan 9, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

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Conditions


Minor Issues 55 days ago
There are bridge works and a number of detours along the southern part of the trail.
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