For a pawsome nature hike without leaving the city, you can't go wrong with the Western Ridge Trail! One of the two primary trails in beautiful Rock Creek Park, this 5.5-mile route runs from north to south, allowing hikers, runners, and four-legged travelers to explore a good chunk of the nearly 1,800-acre park.
There are various places to start your hike, one of them being Boundary Bridge at the northern terminus near the border of Washington, DC and Maryland. From here, the Western Ridge Trail heads south and eventually connects to the Valley Trail, which then leads back to Boundary Bridge to form a 12-mile loop. This is probably too strenuous a hike for most people and puppers; furtunately, there are several connector paths linking the two main trails throughout the park, so you and Fido have a number of loop options to choose from.
The Western Ridge Trail meanders through lush forest, making it an ideal hike for hot summer days. Though this mostly dirt path is generally flat, you and your pooch will encounter some hills along the way. This shouldn't be a problem for healthy doggos, however, and it's likely that your canine hiking buddy will have a blast climbing the hilly sections!
Points of interest on the trail include Peirce Mill and the Klingle Mansion. While furry visitors are not allowed inside, it's still worth stopping by and checking out these historic buildings. You'll also find picnic areas scattered along the route, especially in the southern half of the park. Don't furget to bring snacks and water so you and your pooch can refuel while taking a break!
Be sure to keep your doggo leashed at all times inside Rock Creek Park and always clean up after them. Remember to bring your own waste bags! Though bikes are not allowed on the trail, some portions are horse-friendly.
Experience tranquility in the heart of DC with your pup on the Western Ridge Trail!