Soapstone Valley Trail, Washington, DC

Directions: Trailhead starts at Albermarle St. and 32nd St., NW, in Dist. (One block off Connecticut Ave and Albermarle, about 1/2 mile north of Van Ness Metro Station).

Trail Information: .9 miles to Rock Creek, all downhill in beginning and mostly nice gradual climb back out with a couple of short steep ascents. About 7 stream crossings (you will get wet). Note: in rain crossing can be treacherous b/c stream gets too deep to see the bottom and it is littered with fist sized slippery stones waiting to twist an ankle. OK to do if raining, in fact quite nice, but recommend walking stream crossings.

Miscellaneous Information: At end turn right and in about 75 meters it links into Rock Creek at intersection of Broad Branch Rd. and Beach Dr. From there you can turn south at parking lot and get on paved trail, go past old mill and cross under Tilden Street, then on other side you will see an open field. Cross it to far corner and there is a trail that follows another stream roughly West out of the park and back to Connecticut Ave. You will come out on Conn. Ave between Cleveland Park Metro and Van Ness Metro, so can go back to either station, or turn right (north) on Conn. Ave. and run back to your car at the trail head.

You can also link into all of the trails in the Rock Creek Park at Broad Branch and Beach Dr. I like to turn right at end of trail, run down Broad Branch, after bridge that crosses Broad Branch Creek, cross Breach Dr. and cross Rock Creek on bridge and head over to where Blagden Ave. meets Beach Dr. Just before you get to the intersection look to your left and you will see a little technical trail going uphill and heading North. Go on it and it connects into the Valley Trail. Run as far as you want. You can get off it at the Stone Bridge on Beach Drive and run up the road until you get to the Pedestrian Bridge. Cross Rock Creek at Pedestrian Bridge, hook into Horse Trail and head south back to intersection of Broad Branch and Beach Dr. and then take Soapstone back out. Or go all the way to Military Road. Just before you get to it, cross stream at Park Police Headquarters, head over to where Ross Dr. comes down and cross Ross Dr. and you will see a Horse Trail going uphill (Southwest). Take Horse Trail all the way up a long gradual uphill until you get to the Western Ridge Trail. Turn left (South) onto Western Ridge Trail and it ends back at intersection of Broad Branch and Beach Dr. Take Soapstone Valley back out.

Go to: http://www.nps.gov/rocr/planyourvisit/upload/rocrmap1.pdf
and download the trail map of the park.

Ryan Richie