Rock Creek Trail

Rock Creek Trail — This 18.6-mile hiker-biker trail features two lakes and offers an alternative transportation route and quiet refuge for a number of communities in a diverse urban setting.

photo:  Photo by Bob Ratcliffe.

Length: 18.60 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Greenway, Urban Trail
Agency: City, Town, or County
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Bicycling (on pavement)
Bicycling (off pavement)
Boating, Motorized
Dogs - On leash
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Roller/Inline Skating

See more details.


Location: Montgomery County, Maryland, Follows Rock Creek north from DC line to Lake Needwood.
State(s): Maryland
Counties: Montgomery
Longitude: -77.12788
Latitude: 39.11465

Driving Directions

Driving directions are not available for this trail. Can you provide this missing data?


Rock Creek Trail is an 18.6 mile asphalt hiker-biker trail with two lakes (constructed in the 1960's for flood control and recreation) at its northern end. Lake Needwood in Rock Creek Regional Park offers 7 miles of natural surface trails, picnic areas and rental of canoes, rowboats and paddleboats. The trail surrounding Lake Frank, located in the North Branch System Valley Park, is part of a 7-mile trail system that connects to Meadowside Nature Center. The nature center offers natural, historic and cultural interpretation of the Rock Creek watershed. For example, Rock Creek powered the mills of a thriving milling industry in the early to mid-1800's. Further back in time, the watershed was home to Native Americans, with archaeological sites dating from 7000 BC to the 1600's.

From the lakes, Rock Creek Trail follows Rock Creek and connects at its southern end with the Washington, D.C., border and Rock Creek National Park, one of the earliest national parks. Indeed, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were frequent visitors to the park. Congress established a regional park system to protect the Maryland portion of Rock Creek, which led to the creation of the Maryland-National park and Planning Commission. Today the mostly wooded hiker-biker trail offers an alternative to high-traffic roads in suburban Maryland. The trail's proximity to a metro (subway) station, major traffic routes and residential areas makes a biking or hiking commute possible for many residents. More importantly, the trail provides quiet refuge and natural experience for a variety of communities in a diverse urban setting.

Additional Details

Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Asphalt

Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: Bike Washington - trail information

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
John Boyd
M-NCPPC - Montgomery County
8000 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(301) 650-2600
[email protected]



 Photo by Bob Ratcliffe.

Photo by Bob Ratcliffe.

 Photo by Bob Ratcliffe.

Photo by Bob Ratcliffe.


New NRT sign placed on the Rock Creek Trail. Photo by Bob Ratcliffe.

New NRT sign placed on the Rock Creek Trail. Photo by Bob Ratcliffe.


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