Information to help you plan your visit:
If coming to the Trail from out-of-area by car, the easiest points to access the Trail are at Silver Spring, Bethesda, or Georgetown.
- Trail CLOSED for Purple Line construction: Silver Spring:
From the Capital Beltway (I-495) take the Georgia Avenue exit south toward Silver Spring. Approx. 1 1/2 miles south of the beltway and in downtown Silver Spring, turn right on Colesville Road toward the Metro Station. Turn right at the first light onto Second Avenue. The Georgetown Branch (Interim) Trail starts at this intersection. See "Parking along the Trail" below for parking information.
Accessing the trail in Silver Spring will allow you to start at the beginning of the Georgetown Branch (Interim) Trail, but requires using the on-road Georgetown Branch Trail for approx. two miles to the start of the interim stone-dust trail in west Silver Spring. The interim stone-dust trail is best ridden on a mountain or hybrid bike. If you are using a road bike with narrow profile tires, then you may prefer to use Bethesda as your starting point.
- Bethesda - the current northern trailhead:
From the Capital Beltway (I-495) take the Route 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) exit south toward Bethesda. In downtown Bethesda, turn right onto Bethesda Avenue. The CCT crosses Bethesda Avenue at Woodmont Avenue, 2 blocks west of Wisconsin Avenue. See "Parking along the Trail" and "Finding the Trail at Bethesda" below, for more information on this location.
- Georgetown - the southern trailhead:
The heart of Georgetown at Wisconsin Avenue and M Street can be reached from the Maryland Beltway via. Route 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) or via. the Clara Barton Parkway and Canal Road. From Virginia use I-66 to Lee Highway into Rosslyn, left onto Lynn Street and across Key Bridge, then right toward Wisconsin Avenue.
From the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, go down Wisconsin Avenue to its end under the Whitehurst Freeway at the bottom of the hill, and turn right onto Water Street. The CCT begins at the end of Water Street. Street parking is usually available along Water Street on weekends. On weekdays you may have to use one of the several pay lots along Water Street/K street.
Whenever possible, avoid using neighborhood residential streets for parking, as this becomes an imposition on residents when substantial numbers of trail users park there.
Mile information, when given, refers to the nearest mile marker on the Trail. The positions of mile markers are shown on the Trail Map at our Maps webpage.
- Trail CLOSED for Purple Line construction: Silver Spring, at the Georgetown Branch (Interim) Trail start at Colesville Road and Second Avenue.
There are several large County parking garages in the vicinity of the Silver Spring Metro Station. The most convenient one for the Trail is Garage # 7 which is adjacent to the Trail at Cameron Street, just one block up Second Avenue from Colesville Road. Go to the Montgomery County Silver Spring Parking Lot Map and click on Garage # 7 for information on parking fees.
- Trail CLOSED for Purple Line construction: West Silver Spring/Lyttonsville (mile 0.31)
Vicinity of Stewart Avenue: This segment of the Trail is little used, and on-street parking is available.
- Trail CLOSED for Purple Line construction: Rock Creek Park (mile 1.0)
A parking lot is shared with the Synagogue at East-West Highway and Meadowbrook Lane, adjacent to Rays Meadow in Rock Creek Park. Parking is available daily except Saturdays before 1:30 p.m. and Jewish Holy Days. There is another parking lot at Candy Cane City, at the tot-lot in the park 1/2 mile south of East-West Highway on Meadowbrook Lane. The Rock Creek Hiker/Biker Trail runs by both of these lots. Take the Rock Creek Trail north to the vicinity of the Rock Creek Trestle, then follow the Georgetown Branch Trail signs up to the Trail and trestle. See "Finding the Trail at Bethesda and at Rock Creek" below for more detail on the connection between the Rock Creek Trail and the Interim CCT.
- Trail CLOSED for Purple Line construction: Connecticut Avenue (mile 2.0)
Parking is limited in this generally commercial area, though on weekends parking lots of local office buildings may have space you can use.
- Bethesda (mile 3.5)
Parking is available in several surface lots and garages near the Trail. Parking Garage # 57 is on the north side of Bethesda Ave. less than one block west of the trail. Go to the Montgomery County Bethesda Parking Lot Map for a map of these and other area parking facilities, and click on the lot of interest for information on meter hours and fees. See "Finding the Trail at Bethesda" below for more information on the location of the trail.
- Little Falls Parkway, where the Trail crosses (mile 4.0)
The Bethesda Pool’s two parking lots along Little Falls Parkway usually have space available, but they get crowded during the summer when the pool is open.
- MacArthur Boulevard and Sangamore Road (mile 6.0)
Parking is available in the parking lots of The Shops at Sumner Place, which are rarely crowded. This shopping plaza is located about three blocks up Sangamore Road from the intersection. Connection to the Capital Crescent Trail is a short distance down the Little Falls Trail, which leads from the traffic light at MacArthur and Sangamore.
- Fletcher’s Cove (mile 8.0)
Fletcher’s, with access from Canal Road or Reservoir Road, has a large lot on the river side of the canal, with access through a tunnel under the canal. There is limited parking on the Canal Road side of the canal. There is no charge for parking. For information call Fletcher’s Boat House at 202-244-0461.
- Georgetown, under the Whitehurst Freeway (mile 10.0)
On Water Street/K Street near the access point to the Trail at the western end, there are a limited number of parking spaces with meters, with availability dependent on time of day and season. This parking is often full during workdays and on weekend days in good weathers. Metered parking is in effect until 6:30 PM daily except Sundays. There are multiple commercial parking garages in the area, which are your best bet when metered parking is full. The surface lot once located next to the river at the bottom of Wisconsin Avenue is gone, converted into a park. The unmetered parking you may remember near the west end of Water St is all gone.
- Thompson Boat Center
A small metered parking lot is available here.
Trail Access by Metrorail
The Trail can be accessed at three points by Metrorail. Bikes are allowed on all Metrorail cars on weekends and during non-rush hour weekday periods, except during special events. See this BikeWashington Bike-on-Rail Guide for the rules for bringing bikes on Metrorail.
- Trail CLOSED for Purple Line construction: Silver Spring Station
The Georgetown Branch (Interim) Trail begins directly across Colesville Road from the exit from the Silver Spring Station. This Metro station is convenient if you are not deterred by the approx. 2 miles of on-road Georgetown Branch Trail route to the beginning of the off-road trail in West Silver Spring.
- Bethesda Station
Exit the Bethesda Station at the rear and go South (left) on Woodmont Ave. The CCT is only four blocks south on Woodmont, at Bethesda Avenue. See "Finding the Trail at Bethesda" below for more information on the trail location.
- Rosslyn Station
Although the Rosslyn Station is in Virginia, it is about 1 mile across the Key Bridge to the CCT. From the metro station, follow N Moore St north to Gateway Park then cross N Lynn Street, and follow that north to Key Bridge. Lynn Street is busy and one-way northbound, so you will want to use the sidewalk for the several blocks to Key Bridge. Use the sidewalk on the east (right) side of Key Bridge, then turn right at the DC end of the bridge and follow the path down to the C&O Canal towpath and then down a staircase to Water Street. The CCT begins at the west end of Water Street, to your right. This Google Map shows this route.
Finding the Trail at Bethesda and at Rock Creek
Finding and following the CCT can be difficult in downtown Bethesda. The Trail crossing through the Bethesda Avenue and Woodmont Avenue intersection is not straight. There are two sets of directional signs for the Georgetown Branch Trail (a.k.a. the Interim or Future CCT), one set to mark the route through the tunnel and another set to mark the tunnel bypass on local streets. You do not have to be "directionally challenged" to get confused. The Bethesda map detail can help you get oriented here.
To find the CCT toward Georgetown, go to the Bethesda Ave./Woodmont Ave. intersection and look for the Ourisman Honda dealership west of the intersection and on the south side of Bethesda Avenue. The CCT is between the public parking lot at the corner (Lot 31) and the Ourisman dealership.
Trail CLOSED for Purple Line construction: To find the Georgetown Branch Trail (a.k.a. Interim CCT) toward Silver Spring, look for the trail on the northeast corner of the Bethesda Ave./Woodmont Ave. intersection. The Trail is immediately in front of the Comedy Club and behind the yellow bollards, and is signed. The Trail goes around the far corner of the building and enters the trail tunnel under the parking garage.
Trail CLOSED for Purple Line construction: At Rock Creek (Rays Meadow):
If you are parking at Rays Meadow and/or looking for the Interim CCT from the Rock Creek Trail near East-West Highway, you should see signs to the Georgetown Branch Trail in the area. From the parking lot the signs lead on-road up Freyman Drive and Terrace Drive to a short access path to the Trail. The Rock Creek map detail can help you get oriented here.
An easier and more scenic way to connect to the Interim CCT from the Rock Creek Trail is from the north side of the trestle. From the Ray's Meadow parking lot go down the short ramp to the Rock Creek Trail, and follow the trail north (to the right) from Ray's Meadow. Continue under the trestle and north on the Rock Creek Trail until you cross Rock Creek on a trail bridge, several hundred yards north of the trestle. There is a side trail at the north end of the trail bridge over Rock Creek that is signed as to the Georgetown Branch Trail. This short trail will lead to Susanna Lane. Follow Susanna Lane on-road a short distance to its end at Jones Mill Road. The Georgetown Branch Trail (Interim CCT) is about 100' to the left, and crosses Jones Mill Road. The Rock Creek Trestle and Silver Spring are to the left on the Trail. Bethesda and Georgetown are to the right on the Trail.
Water, Food, Rest Rooms
Water is available on the CCT at various places:
- A water fountain in Rock Creek Park at Ray's Meadow - 100' south of where the trestle bypass of the Georgetown Branch (Interim) Trail turns off of the Rock Creek Hiker/Biker Trail toward Freyman Drive.
- A water fountain at the rest stop at the Bethesda trailhead s few hundred feet south of Bethesda Ave. near mile 3.5.
- A water fountain at the rest stop at mile 6.5 which is about ¼ mile north of the D.C. line.
- At Fletcher’s Cove at about mile 8.0 (although at Fletcher’s you will have to leave the trail and go to the rest rooms or to the picnic area to find a fountain).
- A water fountain is located at Jack's boathouse just past the end of the trail in Georgetown.
There are restaurants and other food sources near the trail in Silver Spring, Bethesda and Georgetown, and also at the major road crossings at Connecticut Avenue and at River Road.
There are no public rest rooms directly on the Trail. There are public rest rooms convenient to the Trail at Fletcher's Cove, near mile 8.0. There is a public use Porta Potty clearly visible in the Bethesda Outdoor Pool parking lot, at Little Falls Parkway.
Bike Shops near the Trail
There are numerous full service bike shops near the Trail:
- Silver Cycles, 9330 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring
www.silvercycles.com , 301-585-1889
Several blocks from the Georgetown Branch on-road bike route in Montgomery Hills. From the Georgetown Branch bike route at Grace Church Road go north on Second Avenue, right (east) on Glen Ross Road, left on Columbia Blvd. The bike shop is adjacent to the Exxon Station at Semimary Road.
- The Bicycle Place, 8313 Grubb Road, Silver Spring
www.thebicycleplace.com , 301-588-6160
Approx. 1/2 miles from the trail. The access path east of the trestle and mile 1.0 comes out on Grubb Road and Terrace Drive. Follow Grubb Road past East-West Highway, the shop is on the left.
- Griffin Cycle, 4933 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda
Located two blocks west of the Trail on Bethesda Ave, near mile 3.5.
- Big Wheel Bikes, 6917 Arlington Road, Bethesda
www.bigwheelbikes.com , 301-652-0192
Adjacent to the Trail near Bradley Blvd and mile 3.5. Take either staircase just north of the trail bridge over Bradley Blvd. to the retail shops in the small office building right on Arlington Blvd. Big Wheel is near the uphill/north end of the building.
- Revolution Cycles, 3411 M street N.W. (Georgetown)
www.revolutioncycles.com , 202-965-3601
Near the end of Key Bridge. From the trail on Water Street, take the staircase at 34th Street up to the C&O Canal, then cross the canal on the pedestrian bridge and follow the path up to M Street.
- Bicycle Pro Shop, 3403 M Street N.W. (Georgetown)
www.bicycleproshop.com , 202-337-0311
On the same block as Revolution Cycles, near the end of Key Bridge. From the trail on Water Street, take the staircase at 34th Street up to the C&O Canal, then cross the canal on the pedestrian bridge and follow the path up to M Street.
- Big Wheel Bikes, 1034 33rd Street N.W. (Georgetown)
www.bigwheelbikes.com , 202-337-0254
One block up the hill from Water Street, but you must use the pedestrian bridge on either 34th Street or on Potomac Street to cross the Canal.
- Cycle Life, 3255 K Street N.W. (Georgetown)
www.cyclelifeusa.com , 202-333-8883
Under the Whitehurst Freeway in the Papermill Bldg. just after the end of the Trail.