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Rock Creek Park - Western Ridge Trail to Beach Drive

Rock Creek Park - Western Ridge Trail to Beach Drive

Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 9:23am
This trail begins at Peirce Mill in Northwest DC, about 0.8 miles from the Van Ness Metro Station. The trail offers tree-covered walk through Rock Creek Park, a welcome respite from city life. There are some elevation changes that make the hike more challenging and visually interesting.
Distance: 
2.8mi
Difficulty: 
Moderate
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Scenery: 
Fair
Photo Op: 
Several portions of the trail take you right along Rock Creek and offer opportunities to photograph the running water. As with most hikes in the park, this one is most picturesque in the Fall.
Location: 
Peirce Mill
Tilden St.
20015 Washington, DC
Metro Accessible: 
Yes
Closest Metro Station: 
Distance to Metro Station: 
0.80mi
Additional Directions: 
There is a parking lot across the street from the Mill. On nice days, especially the weekends, it can fill up so get there early if you can. If worse comes to worse, you can look for parking along Tilden St. west of Peirce Mill. If you are coming via train, simply walk down Connecticut Ave (south) until you hit Tilden. Make a left and follow to Peirce Mill. Be careful walking along Tilden. There is not a sidewalk the entire distance to Peirce Mill.


What to Bring: 
Water. Bug spray. Trail map and a copy of this page. The extra instructions will be useful.
Food Options: 
If you are coming via Metro, there is a Giant grocery store and Walgreen's adjacent to the Metro station. Otherwise there is no food or drink for sale in the immediate area of the hike. There are some water fountains but their reliability is suspect, so I would make sure to bring water.
Additional Information: 

As always, check the Rock Creek Park Website for any safety advisories before embarking on the hike.

This is a pet-friendly hike. There are some hills, but the hike is not too rough and the trail quality is good. Some sections of the trail are used for horse riding so keep an eye out for horse droppings.

Note the black circles with white numbers on the map. These are picnic areas and make for good points of reference. Also, if you have a smart phone, we recommend you download the Nike running app. You can use it to track your distance.

Begin at Peirce Mill, and pick up the Western Ridge Trail. The trail is directly adjacent to the creek, you can't miss it. Continue 0.4 miles until the trail hits Beach Drive. Cross the street and follow the signs for the Western Ridge Trail. You will enter the woods shortly after crossing the street.

Take the trail through the woods up a steep hill. At the top of the hill, cross the street followed and walk through the small parking lot to continue along the Western Ridge Trail. There will be a picnic area (27 on the map) next to the parking lot. There will be a sign for the Western Ridge Trail (see pic 4 below).

Continue along the trail following the green markers. Eventually (0.8 miles into the hike) you will pass a large field on your right surrounded by a wooden fence. This is the Equitation Field. A little over a mile into the hike you will see a large picnic area to your right. Walk along the picnic area (see pic 6 below). Across the street at the far end of the picnic area you will notice the signs 17 and 18. After sign 17 cross the street (Glover Road) and make a left. You are now off the Western Ridge Trail. At the edge of the forest in front of you, you should see another path. This is the path you want to take (see pic 7 below). It is represented by a gray dotted line on your map.

Continue on this path for about another 0.25 miles and you will come to a street (Ross Drive). Cross the street to stay on the path. There will be a steep descent that will take you to the Creek. Make a right and continue along the creek.

At the 2 and 2.3 mile marks of the hike the trail splits. In both cases stay to your left. Shortly after the second split you will find yourself back at Beach Drive where you first entered the forest. Continue back as you came to Peirce Mill to complete the 3 mile hike.

Disclaimer: 
Environmental conditions in cities, parks, etc. can change rapidly and without our knowledge. We do not make any claims as to the accuracy of information presented on this page. Further, hiking can be a dangerous activity that may result in bodily harm and possibly death. We hope the information that we provide will help you prepare for your hike, but do not imply that the information provided is complete. It is your responsibility to prepare yourself for whatever challenges you may face. If you decide to use any of the information on this page, you do so at your own risk.
Images: 
Peirce Barn
Western Ridge Trail.
Western Ridge Trail.
Western Ridge Trail.
Western Ridge Trail.
Western Ridge Trail.
Horse Trail to Rock Creek
Horse Trail to Rock Creek.
Rock Creek.

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