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Milkhouse Ford Loop

Intermediate
 3.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Explore a less visited part of the park with several worthwhile historic points of interest.


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Map Key

1.7

Miles

2.7

KM

Loop

344' 105 m

High

147' 45 m

Low

253' 77 m

Up

257' 78 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildlife

Family Friendly Fort DeRussy has "hidden" earthen mounds that are fun for kids to look for and then imagine how the troops could use them to defend Washington D.C. Kids marvel that cars used to drive in the creek!

Overview

This enjoyable loop features a historically important Civil War fort, a poet's cabin, and a creek ford for vehicles used up until 1994.

Description

From the Nature Center, follow the paved part of the Western Ridge Trail north, soon crossing Military Road. At the 4-way intersection, take the Fort DeRussy Trail heading east. Ascend a gentle incline and approach Fort DeRussy. This Civil War fort was utilized during the Battle of Fort Stevens and helped to defend Washington D.C. You can head through the surrounding woods to discover earthen works, ditches, and other mounds. These are fun for kids to find and explore.

Proceed downhill eastwards to the creek through brushy thickets. Upon turning north onto Black Horse Trail (Central), catch views of Rock Creek, picnic area #6, and Beach Drive. Soon you'll pass an open field and Miller Cabin (named after the eccentric poet Joaquin Miller who lived here in the 1880's). Continuing north, you'll arrive at Milkhouse Ford, a relatively shallow spot where vehicles used to drive across the creek. Up until 1950's, this was the only way to cross Rock Creek.

Join Cross Trail #5 heading uphill to the west. Take the Western Ridge Trail south, following the green blazes. Recross Military Road and complete the loop by ending back at the Nature Center.

Flora & Fauna

White tailed deer, fox, squirrels. Spicebush, viburnum, sassafras.

History & Background

Milkhouse Ford is a relatively shallow spot where vehicles used to drive across Rock Creek. The crossing was improved in 1904 by laying concrete in the streambed, but drivers still had to negotiate several inches of water. Until 1994, people still were allowed to drive across here. The ford originally got its name from a nearby building that used the stream's cool water to chill dairy products.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#4496

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  3.0 from 1 vote
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Photos

White-tailed deer in Rock Creek Park.
Apr 20, 2016 near Washington, DC
Catch a view of the sky
Apr 20, 2016 near Washington, DC
Fort DeRussy placard.
Apr 20, 2016 near Washington, DC
Fort DeRussy marker.
Mar 8, 2016 near Washington, DC
Fort DeRussy north ditch.
Apr 20, 2016 near Washington, DC
Rock Creek Park Nature Center.
Apr 14, 2016 near Washington, DC

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Jan 28, 2020
Mark Varanelli
May 27, 2019
T Muld
Mar 30, 2019
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Feb 22, 2019
JD Foster
Feb 16, 2019
JD Foster
May 31, 2018
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Mar 26, 2018
John Needles
Feb 12, 2017
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