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Rock Creek Park Loop: Western Ridge to Valley Trails



8.8 mile 14.2 kilometer loop
99% Runnable


Ascent: 484' 147 m
Descent: -485' -148 m
High: 305' 93 m
Low: 73' 22 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 9% (5°)


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Trail shared by Doug Hay

A beautiful loop through Rock Creek Park, a D.C. Metro Area oasis.

Doug Hay

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


A complete natural escape from the busy streets of Washington, DC. The rugged and rocky terrain of the Valley Trail - South, and the smooth horse trail of the Western Ridge Trail, make for a solid run in the middle of the nation's capitol.

Need to Know

There are lots of unmarked trails that take you out of the park, so be sure to follow the blazes.


From the parking area, head straight up the steep hill and into the woods on Western Ridge Trail. Western Ridge Trail is a mostly smooth trail traversing the entire western side of Rock Creek Park. Eventually, you'll cross over Military Road.

Continue on the bike path for roughly .25 miles before jumping back on the dirt up to the Maryland border.

At the border, cross the road/creek to pick up the Valley Trail - North and eventually Valley Trail - South all the way back to the parking area. These wonderful trails run along Rock Creek up to the Maryland border for about 5.6 Miles, but don't be fooled by the word "valley" in their names. The trails have plenty of elevation change as they twist and turn alongside the river.

Contrary to the Western Ridge Trail, the Valley Trail's path is a bit more rugged. Watch your footing through rocks, roots and narrow passages. While you'll find fewer runners along the Valley Trail, this is probably the most popular trail in the park and a great place to see wildlife like deer and black snakes.

This is the best that Rock Creek Park has to offer!

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Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background


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Dec 31, 2019
George Koors
Dec 12, 2019
Carlos Angulo
To tY xxytT was try tu g tu toxt
Nov 23, 2019
Josh Lerner
Nov 1, 2019
George Koors
9.1mi — 1h 45m
Aug 29, 2019
Carlos Angulo
Hi tu St set you tu we hi tu tu tu
Jul 27, 2019
Maria Jose Castro
9.3mi — 2h 13m
Aug 18, 2018
Susanne Brooks
Great loop. Couple places to splash in the river. Longer than the app says. 9.5mi
Aug 10, 2018
Johanna Yu

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 23 votes


  4.0 from 23 votes
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270 Views Last Month
10,758 Since Jan 9, 2015



View of Rock Creek from the Valley Trail
Jan 9, 2015 near Washington, DC
Western Ridge Trail
Jan 9, 2015 near Washington, DC
Pine Trail.
Mar 8, 2016 near Washington, DC
Ash leaves.
Mar 8, 2016 near Washington, DC
Boulder Bridge over Rock Creek.
Mar 8, 2016 near Washington, DC
Yellow Trout Lily.
Apr 15, 2016 near Washington, DC


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