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Take a Hike: Rock Creek Park

Friday, November 16, 2012 - 12:39pm

Rock Creek Park is a fantastic resource for outdoor lovers in the District. The main section consists of about 1750 acres. The park was created by an act of Congress and signed into law by Benjamin Harrison on September 27, 1890. Follow this link to a park map. Take note that large sections of Beach Drive, which bisects most of the northern section of the park, are closed to cars on weekends. This is great for park users who can enjoy the extra space and freedom from speeding hunks of metal. If you are interested in cycling, click here for a bicycle trail user's guide. There are many things to do in the park, far too many for one article. Here we call your attention to three short (~3mi) hikes we have mapped out. In addition to hiking, the trails are good for a run (but be careful for roots and rocks under leaves!) or a dog walk. All three hikes have some hills, so be forewarned. However, the elevated views of Rock Creek are worth the climb. It is sometimes hard to believe that you are actually in the city.

 

Rock Creek Park - Western Ridge Trail to Beach Drive This hike starts at Peirce Mill. If the Mill is open stop in for a quick history lesson. There is also a covered picnic area across the street, as well as a large open field appropriate for throwing around the football or frisbee. If you do not have a car, you can take the Metro to Van Ness and walk about a mile to Peirce Mill. Click here for a trail map, pictures, and additional hike details.  

 

 

 

Rock Creek Park - Valley Trail, Fort DeRussy, and Western Ridge Trail Begin this hike at Parking Lot 8 on Beach Drive. You will not be able to access the lot on weekends, however, you can pick up the Whittier Trail on 16th St. The Whittier Trail will take you to the correct path. Those without a car can take the S2 or S4 to the Whittier Trail. There are picnic benches adjacent to the lot if you want to pack lunch. Click here for a trail map, pictures, and additional hike details.
 

Rock Creek Park - Northern Loop This hike begins at the aptly titled Boundary Bridge at the Maryland/District dividing line. You will spend some time on the two most prominent trails in Rock Creek Park, the Western Ridge Trail and the Valley Trail. Click here for a trail map, pictures, and additional hike details.