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blue Rock Creek Park Loop: Western Ridge to Valley Trails

  4.1 ( 20 ) Favorite


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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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
Jul 29, 2018
Tyler Gray
May 5, 2018
Tyler Gray
Apr 11, 2017
Dani D
Did this loop clockwise starting with Valley Trail and cut over to WRT on the paved Rock Creek Trail (Bingham Dr) to shorten the loop to 4 miles. 4mi
Aug 6, 2016
Trey Lord

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  4.1 from 20 votes


  4.1 from 20 votes
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