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Thread: Tried Anacostia to Northwest Branch to Silgo Creek Loop. Success but EPIC!!!!

  1. #1
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    Default Tried Anacostia to Northwest Branch to Silgo Creek Loop. Success but EPIC!!!!

    So I finally just went for Northwest Branch/Silgo Creek loop I had posted in the Where to Ride section last week. I left Adams Morgan and rode towards National's Stadium. From there, I took the Anacostia River Trail past RFK Stadium up to Benning Road. There was lots of construction around here and detours are necessary to make it through but it wasn't bad. When I got to Benning Road, the trail ended. So I took 26th Street NE up to Maryland Ave and onto M Street NE which took me to Bladensburg Road NE near the National Arboretum. Bladensburg is a busy street but for the most part it had good sidewalks although there are some very narrow sections. It should be noted that this neighborhood is not the best area but I had no problems doing it alone. I went approximately 12 blocks down Bladensburg Road and turned right on 38th Avenue NE into Colmar Manor Community Park to connect to the Anacostia Trail. Here's where it gets interesting, I missed the turn for the Northwest Branch Trail and didn't realize it for a couple of miles. That being said, the Northeast Branch Trail is very nice and worth checking out for future rides. However, I turned around to double back and find the turn off for the Northwest Branch Trail which I found. Now, my plans were to take the Northwest Branch Trail all the way up to Kemp Road north of the beltway and then hit the Silgo Creek Trail to come back down. However, I did not realize that the Northwest Branch Trail dies just south of the beltway (don't believe Google Maps, you aren't even carrying your bike through there). Being the stubborn person I am, I decided try to complete the loop so I went up a steep hill gravel hill (oh, did I mention I am riding a cross bike on road tires) into the neighborhood (Oakview Drive). The local streets brought me up to New Hampshire Avenue which I continued to take north past the beltway. This is where it gets really interesting....... I dropped down the Columbia Pike and turned into a neighborhood where all the streets are named after classical music terms. My goal was to reconnect to the Northwest Branch because I assumed it was paved further up.......I was wrong. So I went down this cedar mulch trail off of Oak Leaf Drive (shows up on Google Maps) which turned into a very rough single track at which point I started walking. Now, I was in the area of the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail and the Northwest Branch Trail area except I was on the wrong side of the river. So here I am in "Vietnam" in the bottom of this valley on the wrong side of the river. What shall I do, well........ I forded the river with my bike over my head and I will just leave it at that. Eventually, I made it up to Loxford Terrance on the Northwood Chesapeake Bay Trail and proceeded down Caddington/Gabel Street to connect to the Silgo Creek Trail. After all that, I stopped for some food, dry out, and enjoy that I actually knew where the hell I was. Then, I took the Silgo Creek Trail down to the Northwest Branch Trail returning on my original route to Nat's Stadium. After 60 miles and 10 hours, I made it back home. It was an epic ride but I am still trying to decide if I mean that in a good way. I know I will not do that route again. But I had no flat tires which I can't believe. My bike is pretty muddy and I have a good story. I have posted a link to my Garmin route for you to ponder. Maybe a better route for a similar ride can be found. However, I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU FOLLOW MY ROUTE although it would be possible on a mountain bike.

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/207572805
    Last edited by bluerider; 08-07-2012 at 10:54 AM.

  2. #2
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    I am not sure what is more amazing -- fording the river or that you rode on New Hampshire Avenue - !!

    Congrats on the epic journey and thanks for reporting back. Doesn't look from the map like there is an easier way to do that. MNCPPC, can you fix that?

    Liz

  3. #3
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    Wow - thanks for doing that. I've been meaning to try that route one day as I have friends right off the Sligo Creek Trail in Wheaton. I think I'll come at it a different way...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
    Wow - thanks for doing that. I've been meaning to try that route one day as I have friends right off the Sligo Creek Trail in Wheaton. I think I'll come at it a different way...
    Taking the ride from Nat's Stadium up the Northwest Branch Trail and turning to go up the Silgo Creek Trail is very doable. The only painful part is the street transition between the Anacostia River Trail and Colmar Manor Park. Aside from that, getting up to Wheaton is pretty simple. Just study the maps because you can get lost within the Anacostia Tributary System of trails. Just don't try to go all the way up the Northwest Branch Trail, its not cool at all. FYI, the Silgo Creek Trail is awesome!!!!!! Everyone should try it. No people, beautiful, lots of shade, twists and turns = PEAK FUN.

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