Hiking in Rock Creek Park

A park ranger hikes with autumn leaves around.
A Rock Creek Park Ranger starts a hike at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center.

NPS| KatyCain

Create Your Own Hike!

There are two primary trails that run North-South in Rock Creek Park. They are the Western Ridge Trail (green on the Park Map) and the Valley Trail (pink on the Park Map). Think of them as the rails of a ladder.

There are many connector trails running mostly East-West joining the Western Ridge Trail with the Valley Trail. Think of these connectors as the rungs of a ladder. Using this principle it is possible to create an almost infinite number of loops in lengths from about one mile to ten miles. Below are links to the full park map and our hiking brochures, which should help you start planning your hiking trip.

Favorite places to start a hike:
Nature Center
Peirce Mill
Picnic areas 6-10
Boundary Bridge

Full Park Map

Download our suggested hikes! Hiking brochures and PDFs here.

Printed maps are available for purchase from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.They are the most complete hiking maps of the area and make a great addition to any adventure here.

Hikers on a wooded trail

NPS Photo

How to have a safe hike in Rock Creek Park

1. Bring and use a map or guide (don't rely on trail signs, as there are not many out there).

2. Stay hydrated—bring and drink water (water bottles and a filling station are available at the Nature Center).

3. Stay on the trail to avoid poison ivy and ticks.

4. Keep your dog leashed at all times to protect both your pet and park wildlife. Also many hikers and park users are afraid of dogs;please be respectful of them.

5. Dress appropriately (wear sturdy shoes, dress in layers and anticipate cold and wet weather).


Hiking Options

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    Tags: hiking

    Last updated: October 16, 2020

    Contact the Park

    Mailing Address:

    5200 Glover Rd, NW
    Washington, DC 20015


    (202) 895-6000
    Rock Creek Park administrative offices can be reached at 202-895-6000. For general information call 202-895-6070 Wednesday - Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dial 0.

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