Northeast Branch Trail, Lake Artemesia Trail, and Paint Branch Trail


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Northeast Branch Trail, Lake Artemesia Trail, and Paint Branch Trail Facts

States: Maryland
Counties: Prince Georges
Length: 8.3 miles
Trail end points: Charles Armentrout Dr & 42nd Pl (Hyattsville) and Cherry Hill Road Community Park (Cherry Hill Rd between Park Dr & 47th Ave) (College Park)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6330036

Northeast Branch Trail, Lake Artemesia Trail, and Paint Branch Trail Description

The Northeast Branch Trail, Lake Artemesia Trail, and Paint Branch Trail combine to form an 8.3-mile segment of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System in Prince George’s County. Connecting in the south with both the Anacostia River Trail into Washington, D.C., and the Northwest Branch Trail into Silver Spring, Maryland, and in the north with the Little Paint Branch Trail into Laurel, Maryland, the trails represent a well-traveled section of off-road routes around College Park. They are also part of the Capital Trails Coalition, a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy TrailNation project that aims to develop an 800-mile trail network connecting the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.

The 3.5-mile Northeast Branch Trail follows the levee along—you guessed it—the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River. Starting in the south from Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Hyattsville, head northeast following the Northeast Branch about 2 miles to the popular Riverdale Community Park, which has playgrounds, ball fields, restrooms, and a water fountain. One mile north, a short spur to the left connects to a trail parking lot and access to Campus Drive, which leads to the College Park–U of MD Metro Station on Metro’s Green Line; access the station by heading west on Campus Drive for 0.3 mile and turning right onto River Road.

Back on the trail, you’ll travel north under Campus Drive and skirt the edge of the College Park Airport—the oldest continuously operating air-port in the world—which features an aviation museum. About 0.5 mile farther north lies scenic Lake Artemesia, which has taken on a de facto role in the area as a trail hub and a community meeting spot. It is named after local resident Artemesia Drefs, who donated the land in the 1970s to allow for the lake to be expanded and a nearby natural area to be pre-served. The lake is popular with birders and fishers and boasts a renovated ADA-accessible fishing pier. An approximately 1.3-mile paved trail circumnavigates the lake and is a favorite spot for daily walkers and bi-cyclists. The trail has many benches for sitting and relaxing, as well as a bathroom facility.

The 3.5-mile Paint Branch Trail originates at the southwestern end of Lake Artemesia, traveling underneath Metro’s Green Line tracks and through a forested area toward the University of Maryland. At the crossing of Baltimore Avenue/US 1, you can either cross at grade or take a tunnel underneath the busy road. The next 0.5 mile of trail travels through the eastern end of the University of Maryland campus, passing by the Clark School of Engineering and the Xfinity Center, where the storied men’s and women’s Big Ten basketball teams play. The trail also connects to commercial areas and high-rise student housing along Baltimore Avenue, and students can be seen rushing to and from class along the trail.

Traveling north along the Paint Branch Trail from the university, you’ll pass the College Park Dog Park and the Paint Branch Golf Complex before intersecting with the newly finished College Park Woods Connector, complete with a boardwalk highlighting species native to Maryland that can be seen from the trail with a keen eye. The Paint Branch Trail ends 1.5 miles farther north at the Cherry Hill Road Community Park on the north side of Cherry Hill Road. From there, you could continue northeast toward Laurel, Maryland, for about 1 mile on the Little Paint Branch Trail, which currently exists in two non-­contiguous sections.


Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available in Hyattsville at Melrose Park (4700 Rhode Island Ave), in Riverdale there are two lots at the Riverdale Recreation Center (5400 Haig Dr), in Berwyn Heights by Lake Artemesia (55th Ave & Berwyn Rd) and a number of locations in College Park: Herbert W. Wells Ice Skating Center (5211 Campus Dr), College Park Community Center (5051 Pierce Ave), Acredale Community Park (4200 Metzerott Rd), and Cherry Hill Road Community Park (4620 Cherry Hill Rd). 

Northeast Branch Trail, Lake Artemesia Trail, and Paint Branch Trail Reviews

Es un sendero poco transitado, con tramos muy hermosos. Disfrute muchísimos caminarlo.

Es un sendero poco transitado, con tramos muy hermosos. Disfrute muchísimos caminarlo.

Nice Connecting Trail

I rode the Paint Branch Trail starting at Cherry Hill Park, connected to the Northeast Branch Trail and then to the Anacostia Trail to arrive at Anacostia River Park and then returned.

After riding the Paint Branch Trail, I picked up the Northeast Branch Trail and headed south. The trail was asphalt all the way winding around the small airport and passing through a couple of parks before traveling along a levy to the starting point of the Anacostia River Trail. The trail was mostly smooth with a few mildly bumpy sections and one precarious dip through an underpass.

WB&A Bowie/RaceTrack

Ran this trail from RaceTrack Road Endpoint. There is a parking lot, right at the start of the trail. The trail is 5.5 miles, total. It is apparently at the end of the 5.5 miles, and heads towards Glendale/Lanham. The trail appears to be between neighborhoods, and you cross over a few bridges, following power lines. It is best to go right when it starts to get light out, in the summer, as I can imagine, it will be too dark before. Also, mid-day, it may be too hot, although the trail in some spots is shady. It is decent to run, nice and flat, not much to see but very peaceful.

Nice easy ride

I like to use this trail for a nice easy ride between Lake Artemesia in College Park and the Bladensburg Waterfront Park (about a mile past the beginning (mile 0) following the Anacostia River Trail), both beautiful locations to enjoy. It's less than 10 miles round trip. Personally, I like the long straightaway between about mile 0.5 and mile 1.5 which is kind of through an open field. It connects to several other trails in the Anacostia Tributary Trail System. Well paved and quiet with a couple small road crossings.


Temp Trail closing

FYI - Trail marked as closed southbound just south of Decatur on 8/12/12. Appeared to be some sort of construction off in the distance, I didn't go down to check it out. Otherwise great trail.

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