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Northwest Branch Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 3.3 (9)

A generally flat, stream-side trail with a few isolated rock gardens.


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Map Key

3.7

Miles

6.0

KM

Singletrack

272' 83 m

High

231' 70 m

Low

94' 29 m

Up

54' 16 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (0°)

5%

Max Grade (3°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Unknown

  • While this trail was recently opened to bikes, the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail on the opposite side of the stream is closed to bicycles.
  • You'll encounter dogs off-leash despite the posted regulations.

Description

There is ample parking at either end of the trail: Burnt Mills West Special Park on Route 29 or along Kemp Mill Road (finding the trailhead the first time from Route 29 can be a little tricky).

From the parking in Burnt Mills West Special Park, travel south on the sidewalk crossing over Northwest Branch 100 feet to locate the trailhead marker. The initial steep, rocky stream crossing right at the trail's entrance is the most technical portion of this trail.

The first third of the trail traverses a steep hillside through a dense forest with great views of the stream below. You'll cross several tributary creeks on wooden bridges which can be slippery if wet.

The middle third hugs closer to the water and is generally wider with multiple lines through rocky sections. Experienced riders can pick more aggressive lines with larger obstacles. There are a few scenic spots to chill by the stream.

There is a new 1.2 mile section of machine built tail that adds a bit of elevation and some fast flowy sections between the Lamberton Rd Connector and Remington Drive Connector .

The last third of the trail is a gravel doubletrack that ends at Kemp Mill Road.

For more elevation and mileage, consider adding in the Northwood Trail, the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail north of Randolph Road, Wheaton Regional Park and any of the various neighborhood connector trails that climb out of the stream valley.

*** The section of the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail south of route 29 is now open to bikes had has several miles of new machine-built singletrack that follows the contours of the hillside. You can follow the stream bed trail or the new segments south along Northwest Branch to connect with the paved trail in Prince Georges County.

Contacts

Shared By:

Chris Irwin

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 9 votes

#19446

Overall
  3.3 from 9 votes
5 Star
22%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
11%
1 Star
11%
Trail Rankings

#281

in Maryland

#19,446

Overall
7 Views Last Month
2,444 Since Dec 28, 2017
Easy/Intermediate

33%
22%
44%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

New bridge (photo is April '22) at Rt. 29 looking north. The current trail description mentions deep rocky gully that was here, but it's gone now. I typically ride up the left side trail shown, but the two reconnect over the hill.
Jan 16, 2023 near Four Co…, MD
This is the toughest feature on this section of NW Branch (Rt. 29 to Kemp Mill Road).
Jan 16, 2023 near Kemp Mill, MD
NW Branch North of Rt 29
Oct 21, 2020 near Kemp Mill, MD

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 69 days ago
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Check-Ins

Dec 12, 2022
Grayson Kaufman
Scenic trail next to a river
Jun 2, 2019
S Victor
Can't ride here. Downed trees, high grass with ticks. Not maintained. Awful. Went about 1-8th mile and turned around.

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