Thing to Do

Hike the Western Ridge Trail

A dirt trail leading up to a small bridge. Yellow and green trees are in the distance
Western Ridge Trail

NPS Photo/ K. Cain

The Western Ridge Trail in Rock Creek Park is one of two major trails that run north-south through the park. The trail is marked with light green blazes or markings and runs from Boundary Bridge at the border between the District of Columbia and Maryland south to Bluff Bridge.

Large sections of the trail in the northern section double as portions of the Black Horse Trail. In these sections, the trail is wide and relatively free of debris like rocks and roots. Other sections of the trail are paved and are considered a part of the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use bike trail. 

In the southern-most section of the trail which runs from Peirce Mill to Bluff Bridge the trail splits and offers up two options, one considered moderate and the other considered challenging. The Challenging route takes visitors across exposed rock faces and the trail is almost non-existent. The moderate route goes up and over the face of the exposed rock but it does require some long stretches of ascent and descent.

The Western Ridge Trail runs for a distance of just over five miles and traverses the slight ridge that runs the length of the west side of the park. There are not many creek views on this hike except for the southern most mile. 

There are few facilities available on this hike. Restrooms can be found at the Rock Creek Nature Center and Planetarium (when open), behind Peirce Barn and at Picnic Grove #1.
Pets Allowed
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
The location of the northern most trail head for the Western Ridge Trail
Year Round
Time of Day
Accessibility Information
The Western Ridge Trail crosses over sections that are paved, wider to accommodate horse travel and some that are extremely narrow and are rated as being challenging and not accessible.

Rock Creek Park

Last updated: March 21, 2021