September Highlighted Hike
Northwest Branch Trail
Northwest Branch Park
Silver Spring, MD
- 1.5 miles out and back hike.
- Two trail heads: the dam on Route 29 and at the end of Lockridge Drive. The trail head at the dam is less safe for kids because they will need to walk south a couple hundred feet along Rt. 29 but it is easier to find as opposed to the trail head at the end of Lockridge Drive.
- This trail follows alongside Northwest Branch, a feeder stream for the Anacostia River.
- The trail is wide, flat, and smooth with bridge crossings at each feeder creek.
- This trail is jogging stroller passable.
- Link to the trail map, page two.
- This hike is good for any age but a great hike for toddlers and preschoolers because it is flat, smooth, and wide.
What is fun for kids?
- Vernal pool with lots of frogs, particularly in early spring (read my March blog posting). Access the pool from the Rt. 29 dam trail head.
- A lot of beaver activity along the trail. There are many pencil, pointed tree stumps and bark, scraped trees. Citing a beaver is unlikely because they are present at dawn and dusk and are human shy.
- At the turn-around point (shortly after the third bridge crossing), is a large rock bar in the middle of the stream. This is a great place for a picnic, snack, adventuring to find bugs and amphibians, listening to the ripples, and free play, like throwing or skipping rocks in the stream. Take the short side trail to the right down towards the stream.
- In some places, the trail's edge is a steep drop off into the stream.
- This trail is heavily used by dog owners whose dogs are most often off leash.
- There are no bathroom facilities.
- Trash free park – pack your garbage out.