Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail


4 Reviews

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Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail Facts

States: Maryland
Counties: Prince Georges
Length: 4.3 miles
Trail end points: Greenbelt Rd & Rhode Island Ave (College Park) and Charles Armentrout Dr & Northwest Branch Trail at Melrose Park (Hyattsville)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016044

Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail Description

The Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail provides a safe pathway for students, from kindergartners to doctoral candidates, to walk and bike to school in College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville. The paved trail follows the route of the trolley that once ran from Washington, DC, to Laurel, Maryland, between 1903 and 1958. 

Of course, you don't have to be earning a degree to use the trail. Local residents use the path for after-dinner walks, commuters take it as a shortcut to the Metrorail system, and house cats find it a good place to wait for an indulgent hand to give them a pat. The trail sits on a raised berm and crosses several quiet neighborhood roads, where you can easily pick up the pathway. There are wayfinding kiosks along the route.

Mostly shaded nearly all year by walnut, maple and flowering trees that tower near the trail from neighboring yards, the rail-trail also serves as something of a home-and-garden tour. Residents of the quirky Sears bungalows and rambling colonials along the trail use their yards to showcase their green thumbs.

At the northern end in College Park, there are several businesses within a block of trail, including an impressive herb shop and a corner convenience store, provide diversions during a short stroll. From the intersection of Greenbelt Road and Rhode Island Avenue, the paved rail-trail heads south through primarily residential neighborhoods and through several parks, including the Upper Paint Branch Stream Valley Park. There are two connections to the Paint Branch Trail—follow Pierce Avenue east at the northern edge of the park or turn off the trail to take the path that heads east just within the park's northern boundary. 

The Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail continues south through the park and through the historic neighborhood of Old Town, where it passes close to a variety of local businesses, grocery stores, restaurants, parks, museums, and more. The main campus of the University of Maryland is to the west and its Discovery District to the east. 

Passing through the town of Riverdale Park and into Hyattsville, the rail-trail runs parallel to railroad tracks. At its southern end in Hyattsville, the trail connects to the Northwest Branch Trail by Melrose Park. The southern end is also an artisanal pub crawler's dream: three craft breweries, a distillery, and a meadery, all within a two-mile stretch of the paved trail.


At its northern end, where the trail is commonly known as the College Park Trolley Trail, a bike lane along Rhode Island Avenue extending north of the trail expands bicyclists' options. At Pierce Avenue and just south of Pierce Avenue, trail users can seamlessly connect to the Paint Branch Trail, allowing for safe travel to the University of Maryland.

At its southern end, the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail connects directly to the Northwest Branch Trail, Northeast Branch Trail and Anacostia River Trail

Parking and Trail Access

A variety of public transportation  options provide access to the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail.

The College Park-U of MD Metro Station (on the Green Line) and the College Park MARC Station is only two short blocks from the trail. The trail runs directly past the Riverdale MARC Station.

The trail is also accessible via multiple Metrobus routes, TheBus (operated by Prince George's County), and the University of Maryland's shuttle (university ID may be required to ride some routes). 

Visit the TrailLink map for all options.

Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail Reviews

This is a quaint trail that goes past some cute neighborhoods. I'd drive down there and ride it again.

This is a quaint trail that goes past some cute neighborhoods. I'd drive down there and ride it again.

Nice urban trail with some quirks

From the Northwest Branch Trail at Melrose Park/41st Place headed north on Rhode Island Avenue navigating mostly on the sidewalk past a bunch of shops to Farragut Street where the trail actually starts. The trail has some nice wide, smooth sections. However, the northern section is residential and seems to be mostly paved over sidewalk that goes past a lot of driveways and many stop signs, and much caution necessarily needs to be exercised. There is one long section that is divided for traffic in each direction with green space in between, which is unique. There are a number of bicycle repair stations along the way, and numerous places where one could divert for shopping or dining. At the northern end I passed over a couple of bridges for a direct connection to the Paint Branch Trail. Overall a very pleasant ride. Would be nice if the trail could be completed all the way from Farragut Street south to Melrose Park/41st Place for a seamless connection to the Northwest Branch Trail.

Missing section of trail is now open.

At long last the connector between the two segments of this delightful trail is now open -- sort of. There is a detour still but it is easily possible to ride the entire length of the trail starting near University Blvd and winding up in Hyattsville. The section that the detour goes around is completed but they're still building townhouses there and so (presumably) they do not want cyclists in the construction zone.

A subtle gem

"This is a neat trail to access the College Park metro station. It winds through the Berwyn area of College Park and is regularly visited by deer. However, be very careful crossing the road at the end of it - cars drive fast along there."

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