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Prince George's County's Paint Branch Trail (not to be confused with Montgomery County's Paint Branch Trail farther north) runs for 3.5 miles between Lake Artemesia and Cherry Hill Neighborhood Park in the Washington, DC, suburb of College Park. The trail is a part of the larger Anacostia Tributary Trail System, which provides miles of off-road paved paths along the various branches of the Anacostia River.
The Paint Branch Trail begins in the south at scenic Lake Artemesia, where you can connect directly with the Indian Creek Trail, Lake Artemesia Trail, and Northeast Branch Trail. The trail exits the Lake Artemesia Natural Area at its southwest corner, where it travels under Washington Metro railroad tracks and enters a wooded area. A direct connection to the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail can be found here.
After crossing busy US 1 (trail users must travel south along the sidewalk for a short distance before rejoining the off-road route), the trail continues past the eastern edge of the main campus of the University of Maryland. Soon the trail reenters a heavily-wooded landscape, passes under University Boulevard/State Route 193 and skirts the edge of the Paint Branch Golf Course. The final section of the trail extends north to Cherry Hill Neighborhood Park.
A proposed extension of the Paint Branch Trail under Interstate 495 north to Beltsville's Community Center on Sellman Road has entered the design phase; when complete, the Paint Branch Trail will connect directly with the existing Little Paint Branch Trail in Beltsville, creating a continuous 10-mile trail.
Parking for the Paint Branch Trail can be found at the College Park Community Center at the intersection of Pierce Avenue and 51st Avenue. Near the trail's midpoint, park at Acredale Park (home to the College Park Dog Park) located off Metzerott Road west of Baltimore Avenue/US 1. Alternatively, park at the trail's northern trailhead in Cherry Hill Neighborhood Park on Cherry Hill Road.
I rode the Paint Branch Trail starting at Cherry Hill Park, connected to the Northeast Branch Trail and then to the Anacostia Trail to arrive at Anacostia River Park and then returned.
The newly completed section of the Paint Brach climbs along Cherry Hill Road and crosses the Beltway. The return trip is uphill and the relatively narrow bike/walkway over the Beltway is precarious enough that I walked it in both directions.
As the trail heads south toward the University of Maryland campus it is a pleasant, mostly wooded, ride. Just past the campus the trail goes through a tight underpass followed by a short sidewalk ride along Baltimore Road before turning back into the woods. The section to the east of Baltimore Road is a little bumpy in spots, but is, for the most part, a pleasant ride through the woods. One more dip through an underpass under the commuter railroad brings you to Lake Artemesia. Due to Covid, the path around the lake was one way in a counterclockwise direction.
I accessed Paint Branch from the tennis club and museum overflow lot. It's about 3/4 of a mile to the beginning of the trail. Very well-marked and scenic trail that winds through College Park. Beware of the segment that travels under the Metro Green Line. Northbound, it's a blind, uphill, 90-degree corner coming out of the tunnel. The trail also narrows for a few feet in this section. I crashed when I almost collided with an oncoming pedestrian with a stroller. Also beware of the construction zone between the university and Rt. 1. The trail is unmarked in this spot with three different directions to choose from. Turn right to stay on Paint Branch northbound.
We ride this one often. It's a great trail running from Lake Artemesia (really where you start) to Cherry Hill Road. We turn around there as trying to get across the road with all the traffic is simply unsafe and it only goes for a couple of more tenths or so. Someday I hope it is extended farther north.
It connects into the Anacostia River Trail system as well as the Rhode Island Trolley Trail, currently being redeveloped through College Park.
This one is a keeper.
The setting of College Park's parkrun (weekly free 5K), this section of the Paint Branch Trail is easy to access and well paved, yet quiet and not heavily travelled. A great path through the forest along a stream inside the Beltway.
This is a very beautiful trail starting from lake Artemesia and ending near the Cherry Hill park. The lake is extremely peaceful with lots of lily pads in full bloom during the summer. The trail is surrounded by quite thick greenery on both sides. But, the trail need some maintenance in some places. If you are careful to avoid those patches, then this is a very good trail for road biking too.
I parked my car at the Bereyn Rd Lake Artemesia lot this past weekend. From there, I ran the duration of Paint Branch Trail. While I have to admit, the view isn't the best, It is well kept and felt safe to me as a female runner.
I appriciated how well-marked this trail is. It is almost impossible to get lost with the blue paint on the trail's asphalt.
My favorite part of this trail is the detour around Lake Artemesia. I didn't realize the lake existed and was ecstatic to run into this part of the path with its peaceful water, wild geese, park benches, gazebo, pier, restroom area and water fountain. In addition, the lake is a welcome center for residents of all nationalities who are running, walking, biking, strolling, roller blading and walking their dogs. It is a MUST. As for the other portions of the trail, you will traverse an eclectic blend of suburbia, city life, UMD campus, golf courses, dog parks and bridges. My only criticism would be the lack of a "soft trail" for runners with orthopedic issues. On the other hand, in some areas, there is room to run on the grass. You will enjoy this trail, and it is worth a visit!
Rode this trail with my wife last weekend. We picked up the trail at the southern part of Lake Artemesia. Trail is narrow and wooded traveling through a few small communities as well as the UV Maryland. As always, I don't recommend women to ride or jog the trail alone as a precaution. Overall great trail and a nice ride!
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