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Best Hiking Spots Written by Eitan Malkus

From the strenuous Billy Goat Trail in Potomac to the serene Lake Needwood in Derwood, hiking is a great way to get fresh air while following the state’s social distancing guidelines.

Billy Goat Trail

The Billy Goat Trail Section A is a strenuous, timely hike that is for the more adventurous person. Because of its rugged terrain and demanding trail, the hike takes at least 3-4 hours to complete. While I would recommend this trail because of the rewarding views, social distancing is tough because the trail can get overcrowded, especially on weekends. This trail would be more enjoyable and easy to travel on weekdays.

C&O Canal Towpath

Also, part of the Great Falls National Park is the C&O Canal Towpath, which runs along the C&O Canal, and is adjacent to the Billy Goat Trail. This path is for hikers, runners and bikers, and offers an easier option compared to the Billy Goat Trail.While the Towpath can get crowded on the weekends, it is still possible to social distance. The views may not be as appealing as the Billy Goat Trail, but this trail is nice for a shorter, more casual walk.

Lake needwood trail

An alternative to the C&O Canal Towpath is the Lake Needwood Trail in Derwood. This serene and hilly trail is a perfect place to enjoy nature. Lake Needwood is a shorter, more casual hike that takes around 1-2 hours for the lakeside trail. The trail is much less hilly than the Billy Goat Trail, and is wide enough for hikers to abide by social distancing guidelines, even when passing others. This shorter hike offers sweeping views over the lake and beautiful surrounding nature.

lake frank

Also in Rock Creek Regional Park lies Lake Frank, my favorite trail in the area. This trail does not get too crowded on weekends, which makes it easy to abide by social distancing guidelines. The broad views across the lake and adjoining creek are beautiful, especially on sunny days. The trail offers rock skipping over two creeks and many places to stop and enjoy sweeping views for a 2-3 hour hike around the lake.

While Lake Frank is personally my favorite trail in the area, the many trails cater to the different needs of people. When looking for a trail, take into account what kind of hike you are looking for and the timeframe you have to go on the hike.

Photos by Eitan Malkus