Northwest Branch Trail

MODERATE 7 reviews

Northwest Branch Trail is a 7.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Silver Spring, MD that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.9 miles 383 feet Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

muddy

Parking available along the side of the road at trail head or at the Brookside Gardens and Nature Center

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Pretty scenery with lots of interesting history. Not too challenging, at times there was a slight incline, but I got a good workout! Be sure to wear pants/bug spray. A lot of the trail goes through overgrown tall grass.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

I live in the area bordering the NW Branch Trail. Just need to point out to the folks at AllTrails that when I click this trail it actually shows the Paint Branch Trail on the map view. This should be corrected ASAP. I am a new member and do not know how.

The NW Branch Trail is within view of houses during most of the path. However, it is very serene and usually you can barely hear traffic noise unless you are near a junction with a major road like US 29. My friends and I have hiked from around Kemp Mill to the Beltway on several occasions. Our tradition is to stop at California Tortilla for lunch!

This hike is a lot of fun for both adults and children alike. There are also some geocaches hidden in this area!

cross country skiing
10 months ago

Little underrated trail with trailhead across from stables on Kemp Mill. You can hike toward colesville road or you can link up with Sligo creek trail. I recommend the former for a little of an uphill challenge. Bring a dog or partner because much of this trail is isolated and you don't get too much foot traffic.

fishing
1 year ago

Lots of little sun fish, good for catch and release

hiking
3 years ago

NOTE: The trail head indicated on the map above right is incorrect, nor is there any public parking available at that mark. If you travel north 1/4 mile, you will find the entrance to the trail on the right across the street from the park's horse stables. Parking is allowed both in the stable parking lot or along the road at the trail head.

This is a 7.4 mile loop that runs along the banks of the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River (thus the name). From the HEAD yoo will travel southeast on a paved trail to a "Y" where the returning half of the trail rejoins.
Staying straight at the Y keeps you heading south along with the west bank of the Branch. The back half of the trail loops to the north beginning at Columbia Pike and is natural trail.
The trail along the east bank light blue blazes, but not well marked in many areas. It is easy to get confused due to the many "local" spur trails that come in from the adjacent neighborhoods. When you question which to take, stay with the one closest to the stream.
Both sides have a tendency to be muddy in many areas, but easy to navigate around. There are at least two log bridges across the stream which you can use to cut the hike in half.