Right Out the Door

DC has something of a secret hideout that most runners, riders, and sometimes roller-bladers (yup), take advantage of every day – Rock Creek Park (RCP). Weekends will find these trails the busiest, and for now, Saturday and Sunday happen to be the only days of the week that bring sunshine to a workout around here (c’mon Spring! Bring on that 6 a.m. sunrise!).

I have heard tales of trail-running, and even hiking groups, that take on the less-traveled paths in RCP. They stay away from the high-traffic paved trail and closed-off streets (no cars on the weekends!), and stick to what this national park was initially intended for. The outdoorsy type get their hit of endorphins from stepping right off of a busy DC street – from our side, Connecticut Ave – and right into tall trees, natural streams and the feeling that you’re suddenly miles from a city.

RCP hike tilden bottom trail headRCP hike Military Trail head

It took us 5 minutes to get to these trail heads; they are literally in our ‘backyard’. Add to the list of reasons I love DC, #1002.

D Map Reader. RCP HikeRCP hike water 1
RCP Hike Bridge. edit
RCP hike. TreeRCP hike water 3
RCP hike water. edit

Really, these trails will make for an amazing trail run (what took me so long?! Geeze), and are great for a sunny-day walk. We’ve been a little bit spoiled by the “hiking” verb, so I’m not sure I’d stack this adventure into that category. But, either way, it was the ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon with D & a friend.

RCP*, I’m lucky to be your friend. Thanks for sticking around all these years!


What got you outside over the weekend?

Any other cities with ‘get-aways’ that the locals know all about?


*RCP history, via the National Park Service.



Filed under cross training, DC, hiking, new things!, weekends

17 responses to “Right Out the Door

  1. Emily

    This is one of my favorite things about DC too! A huge park in the middle of all the crazy, who knew?

    Related — I’ve never really done any trail running, but I want to try the RCP ones soon. Want to join?

  2. The trails look AMAZING, but I’m caught up on roads closed to traffic! Hello, dream come true! That would be perfect for cycling!! Jealous! 🙂

  3. Be still my heart. These pics are great! I am pumped that this is a little bit of CO in your own backyard. Trail running is such a great workout too.

    I got outside for Dr Jones, had to show him the neighborhood:)

    • Heather C

      Hah, Dr. Jones will love those streets soon enough! Might even start sayin ‘mate and ‘bloody’ before you know it…

  4. ali

    love the wissahickon in philly… great park! i went hiking also this weekend and discovered some other cool spots near philly… i’d love to hear more reasons about why you love dc… maybe a future post 🙂

  5. Just 5 minutes away, you too can be abducted and never heard from again! Wait, maybe that was a movie.

  6. Ed

    Wow that looked like a fun run! Glad you got to enjoy some nice weather…

  7. Beautiful! Judging by the photos it looks like a lot fun.

  8. CJ

    Don’t forget the C&O canal towpath…hop on in Georgetown and continue for about 184 miles through history. Just be sure you’re buddied up and not solo on these rustic (sometimes secluded) adventures.

  9. Hidden gems like this are SO important in urban areas. I am no longer a city girl, so the year I lived in Houston (after spending the previous 5 in Wyoming) was torture to me! However, there is a park with a small trail network for running and mountain biking which provided me with a chance to escape from running the city streets. Only downside to it was that because Houston is HUGE, it was a 30 minute drive from where I lived….certainly not something I could justify doing regularly.

  10. I love RCP! I did some trail running there this summer and it is beautiful!

  11. Pingback: Crave Novelty: Switch it Up | Dietitian on the Run

  12. Liz

    Love RCP, when I’m in DC for work we stay right near it. Love your blog btw 🙂

    • Heather C

      Thanks, Liz! 🙂 That’s great that you’re able to stay close to a trail that makes it easy to stay active in the city – it’s an amazing resource that we try not to take for granted.

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