Hiking in Rock Creek Park

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 in the park.

2. Stay hydrated—bring and drink water.

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

4. Keep your dog leashed at all times to protect both your pet and park wildlife. 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.

6. Before you go, review how to Recreate Responsibly.

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

NPS/ K. Cain

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 (orange on the park map). Think of them as the sides 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 varrying lengths from about 1-mile to 10-miles. Below is a link to the full park map.

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

Full Park Map

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    Last updated: September 23, 2023

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    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    5200 Glover Rd, NW
    Washington, DC 20015


    202 895-6000
    Rock Creek Park's main phone line.

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