Discover Bethesda, Maryland...365 Days a Year!

Day 142: The Wilds of Bethesda

The southern most point of the trail head

While on our recent sushi picnic at Cabin John Park, Brian and I noticed a trail head near our picnic bench.  Curious, we investigated further, as it was taunting us to just follow the little brown trail.  But thankfully, we did not blindly attempt a little afternoon walk in our work clothes and shoes.  This “Cabin John Trail” appeared from the map to be one heck of a hike!  Upon closer examination, we learned that this little nature walk through the woods and wilds of Bethesda followed a meandering and sometimes steep path through the Cabin John Stream Valley Park, up Seven Locks Rd – past Greentree Rd – past Democracy Blvd – past Tuckerman Ln – through Robert C. McDonnel Campground and ultimately up to Goya Rd near the intersection of Gainsborough and Seven Locks Rd.  The little ole’ hike is comprised of 8.8 miles of natural surface trail with some very picturesque views and sites (and some not-so-picturesque parts like a short walk next to River Rd).  Now don’t let me fool you into thinking I have hiked the thing.  I absolutely have not.  But I must admit, I want to!

If you, like me, want to explore all or part of this trail, there are several ways to skin this cat (that’s a terrible expression really).  You could take the 2.6 mile section from McArthur Blvd (Cabin John Park) to River Rd; the 1.2 mile section from River Rd to Bradley Blvd. or you could even bike the 1.8 mile section from Bradley Blvd to Democracy Blvd., among other options.  Please note that the first 1.2 mile section from Cabin John Park to its intersection with Seven Locks Rd is open only to hikers and presents some challenges in the form of very steep terrain.

The beginning of adventure

So when you tire of the big city and need some fresh air, exercise and a little adventure, you might fill your pack with water and some healthy snacks, don your sunglasses, bug spray and hiking boots, grab your walking stick and head on out to Cabin John Trail.  Please let us know if you do!  I would love some insider information on what to expect if I should dare go on this hike.  The last time I went on a hike ill prepared and unaware was at the Billy Goat Trail in Potomac and I nearly stepped on a snake and nearly slipped off a cliff!  Who knew I would have such high adventure just a short distance from our little quiet town of Bethesda?!  Perhaps Cabin John Trail will offer a little bit of the wild side of Bethesda.      ~Amy

P.S. Here is a link to the full map:  Cabin John Trail Map

  1. Dana H

    Nice description. I think I’ll check it out tomorrow. Thanks.

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