“A beautiful loop through Rock Creek Park, a D.C. Metro Area oasis.
— Doug Hay
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
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.
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!