Rock Creek Park is laced with marked hiking trails, bike routes, and horse paths. For the hiker, the extensive system of trails and paths includes the blue-blazed Valley Trail that follows the east side of the creek, the teal green-blazed Western Ridge trail, plus tan-blazed connector trails.
On weekends and holidays the National Park Service closes Beach Drive to through motor vehicle traffic from Broad Branch Road (just above Blagden Ave.) to the Maryland line, a distance of about five miles (a few stretches remain open to shared use with cars). The closed road, shaded by trees and edged by Rock Creek, is popular with walkers, bicyclists and roller bladers.
Walkers also enjoy the 13 miles of wide dirt-and-gravel bridle trails that crisscross the northern section of the park.
For both walkers and bicyclists, the scenic and popular Rock Creek Trail winds 25 miles from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to Lake Needwood Park in Montgomery County, MD.
Portions of Rock Creek Park trails have also been incorporated into the American Discovery Trail, stretching from Delaware to California. This continuous hiking route from coast to coast incorporates existing urban and wilderness trails. The photo above shows the trail skirting our back yard. (Take a few steps out of the park to visit our pond.)
The paths of Rock Creek Park are maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. They also connect with the Capital Crescent Trail, allowing hikers and bikers to use former railroad right-of-ways to make a large circle from the Mall into Maryland and back.