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Rock Creek Trail/Beach Drive in MD

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Rock Creek Trail/Beach Drive in MD

Old 08-15-18, 02:03 PM
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u235
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Rock Creek Trail/Beach Drive in MD

I am mapping out a century for myself. I am planning on getting on the Rock Creek Trail at Cedar Lane about 5 miles north of the DC border
https://www.google.com/maps/place/3900'43.6"N+7705'28.3"W/@39.0121061,-77.0922783

I see a "trail" there and many references to the trail but I also read about horror stories of biking on Beach Drive as well. Is there a bike navigable trail or will I have to use the Beach Drive or some combination of both? I plan on taking the trail north to near Shady Grove and then squirming back down to the C&O from there. I can modify my route and avoid the whole area and just take the C&O from DC north and add distance somewhere else.
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Old 08-16-18, 04:36 AM
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From that point on Cedar Lane there is definitely a bike trail all the way down to DC, with some caveats:

1. The trail gets very crowded on weekends. Beach Drive is very bikeable on weekends - Beach Drive from Broad Branch Road to Military Road and from picnic grove 10 to Wise Road and from West Beach Drive to the DC line are closed to cars on Saturdays, Sundays (7:00 AM Saturday-7:00 PM Sunday), and holidays.

2. There is construction on Beach Drive in rotating segments. Right now there is a detour around the construction section that is actually a very scenic ride but involves some short steep hills and crappy road surface - but no cars on this segment. You can find info on current closures here.

3. After heavy rains (and we have been having lots of them) there is often flooding - alerts here. Even after the road/trail is reopened, south of the Zoo there are sections that will have 6 inches of sand covering the asphalt until a cleaning crew gets to them.

4. The Capital Crescent Trail is a nice alternative, but because of a stupid light rail construction project, there is no longer an off-road connection between the CCT and Rock Creek/Beach Drive. Depending on your comfort levels with riding in traffic, there are a couple of ways around that - detour recommendations here, For a century ride, taking the CCT will give you a number of options for food - downtown Bethesda, River Road, etc.

The Rock Creek Trail north to Lake Needwood has a few areas that flood, too - but usually gone a day after rains.

Hope that helps, John P.
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Old 08-16-18, 11:32 AM
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Thanks, great info.
My plan was based on using this as a template.
Tkaczyk's All Terrain Century

After reading a little.. I think I'll avoid the hook into MD from the Potomac and stay on the C&O instead. If I start in the Manassas area instead of Reston I can still get the "100 miles" and have a lot of nice casual trail. Less places to stop and I'll have to plan that a little more.

I'm still probing around with maps and ridewithgps looking for worthwhile potential diversions off the Potomac/C&O.
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Old 08-17-18, 04:03 AM
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The "classic" W&OD/C&O loop is described here - I think it ends up at about 75 miles. If you add in a trip up to and back from Purcellville on the WO&D you can get it above 100 miles.

The stretch from White's Ferry south on 15 up to Leesburg wasn't fun when I used to do this loop years ago, high speed traffic and a disappearing shoulder. Driving on it in recent years, it looks a lot better.
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