The Rock Creek Trail in Maryland is an urban greenway that will surprise you with its close proximity to streets and towns, because it winds through a wooded green corridor that runs alongside Rock Creek on its way to the Potomac River, and shields you from the noise and busy-ness around you. For a portion of the path, you'll follow along Route 495 (the Beltway), which is seldom quiet, but you'll be so entranced by your surroundings, you'll hardly notice. Having said that, you'll nevertheless be treated to some pawsome spectacles as you walk or ride by grand historic places, like the Mormon Temple with its white spires reaching for the sky.
The sometimes narrow trail is paved with asphalt for generally easy maneuvering, and there are dozens of places along the way where you can park and pick it up, along with restrooms and water fountains. You'll also find picnic tables for breaks and al fresco snacks or meals without having to turn around and go back to the trailhead. Many species of birds and wildlife frequent the areas around the trail, especially near the water's edge, including deer, fox and amphibians. In the spring and fall, the trees are alive with birdsong as the migratory species make this their temporary homes, and a pair of binoculars will afford you many sightings. Your pooch will love spying, smelling and hearing all the critters!
All along the length of the trail are side trails that are available to the curious and adventurous, and you will pass through several community parks with their own unique amenities and attractions, such as Lake Needwood Regional Park with its boat launches and picnic areas, or Garrett Park. The Maryland section of the trail ends at the District of Columbia border, and the Rock Creek Park Trail continues from here through Washington's Northwest District to the Potomac.
This is a long and winding trail, but its many entry and exit points, along with its proximity to restaurants, parks and Metro stations make it one of the most accessible and convenient ways to get out with your fur-baby and enjoy nature!
This trail runs through heavily wooded areas, some sections will have branches and other debris across the path. There are also upheaved roots that have broken through the asphalt in places, so watch your footing. Some of the lovely hills and dales along this route are very steep, so prepare for those by watching out for the signs that provide warnings that one is coming up. Footbridges over streams can be extremely slippery when wet.