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The Northwest Branch Trail—an integral part of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System—runs between the Maryland towns of Hyattsville and Silver Spring, linking two bustling suburbs of Washington, D.C. The trail is so named because it follows the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River for its entire route.
The trail starts in the south in Prince George's County, just north of where the river splits into its northeast and northwest branches. Appropriately, direct connections to the Northeast Branch Trail and Anacostia River Trail can be found here. North of this trail hub, the Northwest Branch Trail runs past a succession of parks, including Melrose Park, Magruder Park and 38th Avenue Park. The trail quickly crosses the waterway, rounds a bend, and then crosses the river once more. Shortly after the West Hyattsville Metro Station, the winding Sligo Creek Trail forks off to the northwest.
After crossing under East-West Highway/State Route 410, the trail runs through dense woodlands that will make you forget you are in a major population center. The large Lane Manor Park next appears immediately to the east. At Adelphi Mill Park (near the trail's midpoint), visit Adelphi Mill. Built in 1796, it is the only surviving historic mill in Prince George's County. Past the mill, the pathway reenters a wooded environment. A steep gravel connection at the trail's end climbs up to Oakview Drive, which leads to busy New Hampshire Avenue/SR 650.
If you are on foot or horse, you can choose to continue on the trail several miles farther north to Wheaton Regional Park—just don't take the gravel spur to Oakview Drive. This section is unpaved and is closed to bicyclists.
Parking for the Northwest Branch Trail can be found at the trail's northern endpoint at Roscoe Nix Elementary School on Hedin Drive in Silver Spring. Most of the parks along the trail's route have their own parking lots; for the exact locations of these parks, refer to the TrailLink map.
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