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Paint Branch Trail



4.1 mile 6.6 kilometer point to point
100% Runnable


Ascent: 19' 6 m
Descent: -96' -29 m
High: 126' 38 m
Low: 46' 14 m


Avg Grade: 1% (0°)
Max Grade: 9% (5°)


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Trail shared by Nicole Crisp

An enjoyable run along the Paint Branch Trail.

Nicole Crisp

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The trail is open 24/7 although care should be taken at night as there are no lights or lampposts along the trail.


This trail is a great way to get away from the business of College Park and escape into the woods. For the most part, you'll be alone in nature with the cars on Route 1 and University Blvd only faint noises in the background. The trail heads along the north end next to the Mazza Grandmarc apartment complex near Route 1 and Hollywood heading south to Route 1 and Greenbelt Rd. You'll frequently see a few other travelers along your way from runners to walkers to cyclist to dog owners.

Starting from the north end, you'll pass over a wooden bridge then turn left. From here, you'll cross over the Paint Branch tributary multiple times. After this you'll have the Paint Branch golf course on your left. Once you turn left to head on a decently long stretch headed eastward, look to your left, and there will be an amazing portion of wetlands with frogs, ducks, and birds. From there, you'll head south for a bit then east again to cross under University Blvd. Coming up on your right will be a park and past this, another access point.

From here, the trail continues further south and east, heading toward College Park Estates and Greenbelt Park where you can connect to other trails in the area.

Flora & Fauna

The trail roughly follows the Paint Branch tributary of the Anacostia River meaning there are a variety of birds, ducks, and frogs to be found. Geese are a frequent site at the golf course that is part of the southern portion of the trail. Squirrels can also be seen as well as on rare occasions deer.

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Aug 22, 2019
Manuel Kuhn
Jul 25, 2018
Allie Passarello
pre-work run 2.5mi

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes


  5.0 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Maryland


152 Views Last Month
1,543 Since Mar 19, 2017



The Paint Branch Trail offers the solitude of a walk in the woods just minutes from Route 1 and Cherry Hill Rd.
Mar 22, 2017 near Beltsville, MD
This is the pond at the northern terminus of the trail. What beauty exists so close to the Beltway!
Mar 22, 2017 near Beltsville, MD
Enjoy pleasant views of the Paint Branch tributary near the bridge under University Boulevard.
Mar 19, 2017 near College…, MD
A restoration project is underway! The trail was badly damaged a few years ago by a tornado.
Mar 22, 2017 near Beltsville, MD
"Two roads diverged in a wood" and the one on the left headed back to Route 1 while the one on the right continued toward the University of Maryland and Lake Artemesia.
Mar 22, 2017 near College…, MD
At times, you are only a few feet from the Paint Branch Tributary!
Mar 22, 2017 near College…, MD