Somewhere Closer To Home: Rock Creek Regional Park
By Albus Du
In these days of virulence, and many days before the pandemic, everyone is searching ever more for options for outdoor activity closer to home. I bring to you today, one of the prime spots for hiking and biking in the DC Metro area, specifically, around the Rockville area. The appropriately named, Rock Creek Regional Park (not to be confused with the Rock Creek Park in DC). The park encompasses Lake Needwood and Lake Bernard Frank, and stretches some ten or so miles southeast in a long and skinny shape covering Rock Creek, Beach Drive, and Rock Creek Trail, before meeting Rock Creek Park on the DC border. It features nearly fifteen miles of mostly paved, cyclable terrain, and many more dirt footpaths. The park is also a very scenic destination. Being very long and skinny, it takes you through all different parts of Montgomery County. From Lake Needwood, to the Mormon temple. The park pierces through or runs near several community playgrounds and parks, so there are plenty of places to rest. If you need a snack, or some water, the park also conveniently runs near several commercial areas rife with pedalers of various food and drink.
For cycling beginners, I would recommend a route I have biked a few times. You would start at Lake Needwood, around the boat landing, and then bike around six miles down Rock Creek Trail, before turning off and heading into Pike and Rose. It’s a day of mild exercise and fun for everyone. For more advanced riders, riding into DC and back is an exciting challenge. It presents about twenty total miles of hilly terrain. Living in south Rockville, from my house, I shoot straight east for Rock Creek Trail, then cruise along the trail until I get to DC, where I switch to Beach Drive, and grab lunch near the National Mall in Adams Morgan. From there, I take the original route back, and try not to regurgitate my ramen, or BLT, or whatever I chose to eat from among the diverse options at Adams Morgan that day.
Of course, these are only a few examples of the routes you could take. Ultimately, Rock Creek Regional Park is huge, and you could pick a start and end point essentially anywhere along the trail. It can be used as a place for leisure riding, or to transverse the minor metro hubs in DC area suburbia. It is a prime spot in and around Montgomery County if you are not looking to go into the bush, but you would also like a safe place to bike.