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hiking in rock creek park (why we love dc #9)

Sunday, 28 September 2008

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it turns out that rock creek park (of Chandra Levy fame) has a network of trails … *actual* trails with switchbacks, elevation gain, wildlife, streams, and mud. not just the paved rec paths or glorified sidewalks you would imagine in a city park.

it amazes me that residents of Mt. Pleasant won’t shut up about the glory that is the National Zoo — though it is pretty awesome — and yet they neglect to mention the National Park-grade liking trails less than three blocks away.

even more stupefying is that we had the trails to our selves. sans a couple or dog owners and a pair of septuagenarians warning us about the perils of poison ivy (they had just been interviewed by News Channel 8 on the topic) there was nary a human in sight on a stunningly beautiful Sunday afternoon.

there are two main trails around the park … the western ridge trail and the valley trail. we looped through the bottom third of both in about two hours. the trails go from the Zoo all the way up to Maryland, but we weren’t that brave (and, frankly, should have been in better shoes).

we did get lost (yes, in rock creek park) and used my fancy-pants new iPhone’s GPS locator-thingy to save our bacon. I’d like to think that the coolness of the iPhone balances embarrassment of actually using it in the “wilderness” … but, sadly, it’s still just humiliating.

speaking of maps, those provided by the Park Service show the trails as one unintelligible smudge, which makes navigation (without an iPhone) that much more exciting. there are larger, more printer friendly rock creek trail maps here:

Map: Hiking Trails in Rock Creek Park (South)
Map: Hiking Trails in Rock Creek Park (North)

Explore the Photoset:
Hiking in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC