Magruder Branch Trail


7 Reviews

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Magruder Branch Trail Facts

States: Maryland
Counties: Montgomery
Length: 3.45 miles
Trail end points: Shelldrake Circle and Shelldrake Ct and Damascus Recreational Park, Kings Valley Rd
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 9244254

Magruder Branch Trail Description

This 3.45-mile paved trail follows the Magruder Branch creek, beginning at the Damascus Recreational Park on Kings Valley Road. It’s a relatively flat trail for most of its length, barring the steeper segments near the northern and southern ends of the route. Boardwalks provide crossing points across the wetlands, and the mature forests provide ample opportunities for birding and wildlife encounters. Enjoy a variety of experiences along the pathway, including open fields, marsh and quality woodland.

At its southern terminus, on Valley Park Road, the trail eventually joins the Lower Magruder Trail, a 3.3-mile unpaved track that in turn, links to the Seneca Greenway Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the southern trailhead, begin on I-270 heading west, take exit 18, Stringtown Road to Frederick Road (State Route 355). Turn right into to Frederick Road, the continue of Foreman Boulevard. Take Little Seneca Parkway to Ridge Road (SR 27). Turn right onto Kings Valley Road. Damascus Recreational Park (23723 Kings Valley Road, Damascus) has three entrances. Pass the tall sculpture, take the third left turn into the park leading to baseball fields 1&2. The trailhead is on the left side at the end of the lot. Various amenities are available at the park including water fountains, restroom, picnic facilities and parking.

Additional parking might be found close to the northern trailhead on Valley Park Drive (limited spaces) and Bethesda Church Road (on-street parking).

Magruder Branch Trail Reviews

Meet Mother Nature

Excellent place to communicate and be in symbiosis with Mother Nature ¿

Very Scenic

This trail is 90% through the forest. It mostly meanders along with a creek/steam. The tree covered path will make it ideal for walking on sunnier days.

Scenic Ride, Moderate Elevation Changes

Overall, a nice, scenic ride almost entirely tree-covered with plenty of streams for ambiance. As described, surface is mostly paved with several stretches of boardwalk and wooden bridges varying in length. I would not recommend riding with a true road bike with road tires due to the boardwalk. At least a hybrid with hybrid tires will work.

I found the elevation changes to be perhaps a little more challenging than what other riders have stated in their reviews. For perspective, I’m 56 years old, ride daily between trails and road and average a little over 3,000 miles a year. At no point did I feel overly exerted; but the elevation changes occur throughout the length of the trail, not only at the ends. I resorted to standing climbs for short stretches.

Finally, as described, the trail is only 3 ½ miles long so if you’re looking to spend a day riding, obviously this isn’t the trail for you. I did two complete roundtrips and added in some of the neighborhoods to finish with 17 miles.

Great trail for a quick workout, scenic

First time on this trail, and impressed by the work that went into putting it together (a lot of boardwalks/bridges). Great local resource in Damascus/Mount Airy area. The hill at the southern end is a workout, but overall an easy ride.


Loved the shade almost through the whole path! Quite a lot of elevation change, but really like it.

Loved the shade almost through the whole path! Quite a lot of elevation change, but really like it.

popular trail...

Even on a COLD WINDY May day, there were lots of walkers, joggers, and some bikers. Steep on either end of the trail and I’m guessing 6-8’ wide so 2 bikers can safely but SLOWLY pass. Lots of smooth, elevated trail & bridges (lots of warning signs “Slippery When Wet”) Would be very nice in heat of summer since it’s shaded the entire route & alongside the stream. Trail is in the floodplain so would not be advisable when streams are up.

Scenic route

What a wonderful paved trail with numerous wooden bridges!!! A real delight to bike! Not to mention various creeks filled with tadpoles!

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