Rock Creek Park Trails

District of Columbia

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Rock Creek Park Trails Facts

States: District of Columbia
Counties: Washington
Length: 8.5 miles
Trail end points: Chestnut St. NW at Oregon Ave. NW and Rock Creek Parkway NW and Parkway Drive NW
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Dirt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6032439
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Rock Creek Park Trails Description

Located in the northwest section of Washington, D.C., Rock Creek Park is the oldest and largest urban park in the national park system. Established in 1890, Rock Creek Park offers more than 1,700 acres of natural area for a variety of uses. Trails are numerous, comprising a mix of dirt-surfaced paths for hikers, runners and equestrians, and paved paths for cyclists and other users.

The paved trail runs parallel to Beach Drive and Oregon Avenue, although many other routes are available. The trail systems runs from the Maryland border at Beach Drive to just south of the Roosevelt Bridge (I-66) underpass. At the Maryland border, you can continue north on the paved Rock Creek Trail.

Hikers and runners should use caution on the unpaved off-road trails. Equestrians, note that only some of the off-road trails are marked for horse use.

Cyclists should be aware that there is no off-road bike path option on the northern section of Beach Drive. While this section of road is marked as an on-road bicycle route, bicycling here is not recommended on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, though, Beach Drive is partially closed to through traffic, creating an on-road route that bicyclists, in-line skaters, walkers and runners can enjoy.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium (5200 Glover Road NW) and the park's Pierce Mill historical site (2401 Tilden St. NW). For additional options, visit the National Park Service website.

Rock Creek Park Trails Reviews

I'm new to this app. It looks good but only shows nearby parking. How about those who can only come to bike trail via train or bus. Maybe useful to have nearest metro stops. ( or the number bus that runs by, though maybe that would be more difficult ). At least nearest metro would be helpful. Thanks.

I guess I can't really say that this is a bad trail, because it isn't. But if you are a road cyclist riding on slicks and hoping for any kind of smooth or speedy ride you probably don't want to use this trail. I found the trail too uneven with too many low spots that are filled with sand/dirt/mud to really get comfortable riding it. It just isn't made for that. Ultimately I jumped on the parkway that the path parallels and was much more comfortable (no bike lane, but speed limits are 25-35 so it is not uber crazy). I was on the road early - 0630 - so YMMV.

All that being said, if you are casually riding, maybe using a mountain bike or hybrid, and not looking for great speeds then this trail should fit your needs just fine.

On a very positive note: the path itself is a great way to get from the northern DC neighborhoods right to the heart of DC. It would be a great path to take in to see the monuments and the Mall.

Some of the signage needs updating but the trail is great. Bikers need to share the trail with hikers. The surface is a little uneven but passable. The angles of rise and fall are minor and the conditions are good.


We rode up from Georgetown to Silver Springs on the Crescent Trail and took this one back to Georgetown. Around Silver Springs area the signage was a little confusing and a couple other sections of the trail, but once on the trail it was wonderful. They shut down the park for the weekend to car so you have the road to yourself and all the other bicyclist. Wonderful views and plenty of photo opportunities. When we got back in DC we took the Pennsylvania Avenue back into Georgetown where we had lunch. Look forward to the next adventure in DC on one of the many other trails available.

I Am not a big fan of urban trails but if you are in the D.C. area put this on your bucket list as it is a great system of trails. On a weekends you can expect to run into lots of Bikers some of them are going way to fast for me. This is a Greenway so there are a few grades to it. Lots of canopy and is family friendly.

This trail is a must if you live in the city or visiting the city since Rock Creek park runs straight through the city so you avoid all that city traffic and ride through the park instead. The trail terminates at the Potomac near the Watergate and from there you can go anywhere, go north under the Whitehurst freeway and go on the Canal path or go south along the fish market and Marina. or cross the Memorial Bridge to go to Mt Vernon with its wooden bridges and stop at the sailing marina for a snack or meal with a view or go north to rosevelt island. On the Va side after crossing the memorial bridge you can go south and after you pass the national airport you can go west to fairfax, or you can keep going south and enjoy the lovely waterfront and the waterfront park in old town. Another enjoyable ride is to go south along the Potomac DC side after the Rock Creek trail terminates at the Potomac and when you come to the Lincoln memorial head east and visit the mall area especially the park in front of the Federal Reserve building and the 3 gardens behind the Smithsonian castle and if in Spring keep going east and up the hill when the Capital grounds are in bloom.

"I like this trail because it is near my house and I don't need to travel by car to get to it. It's good because I can run straight to the Lincoln Memorial. Also, it goes past the zoo and I can stop in there and take a peek. Running near the water is also nice. Be careful though because there are some wooded areas that are probably not safe in the evenings. Other than that, I really like this trail for running."

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