Sligo Creek Trail


12 Reviews

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Sligo Creek Trail Facts

States: Maryland
Counties: Montgomery, Prince Georges
Length: 10.2 miles
Trail end points: Arcola Local Park (11501 Channing Dr, Silver Spring) and Northwest Branch Trail at Nicholson St (Hyattsville)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6330057

Sligo Creek Trail Description

The bustling D.C. metro area seems light-years away from the parklands bordering the Sligo Creek Trail in the Maryland suburbs northeast of the city. The paved stream-valley trail follows the meandering creek for about 10 miles from its junction with the Northwest Branch Trail in Hyattsville in Prince George’s County to the town of Wheaton in Montgomery County.

Named for the creek it follows, the Sligo Creek Trail is just one arm of the 40-mile Anacostia Tributary Trail System. That trail network starts in Hyattsville where the tidal Anacostia River splits into the Northwest and Northeast Branches, each with its corresponding creekside trail. The trail corridors run through parkland that the Maryland–National Capital Park and Planning Commission started acquiring in the 1930s.

The Sligo Creek Trail begins where it splits off from the Northwest Branch Trail at the confluence of Sligo Creek and Northwest Branch of Anacostia River in Hyattsville. The playing fields at Green Meadows Park are the first of many you’ll pass as you head northwest.

Throughout the trail, be aware of side trails that can carry you off the main trail and into nearby neighborhoods. Also, activate the flashing lights for pedestrian crosswalks at the Riggs Road and East–West Highway crossings.

The trail enters Montgomery County just before New Hampshire Avenue and begins long passages through woodland, where occasional small bridges cross the creek. Heading north, you may notice low dams crossing the creek. Some mark the locations of old gristmills, and one was part of Takoma Park’s public drinking-water system until the 1930s.

Commuters can use the winding 8-foot-wide trail from 5 a.m. to mid-night, although general hours are sunrise to sunset. Dozens of picnic tables and benches allow recreational users to relax and watch deer browsing in the woodsy sections or herons stealthily fishing in the creek.

The two-lane Sligo Creek Parkway runs alongside the trail most of the way through Montgomery County until the trail crosses University Boulevard/MD 193. The narrow trail gets crowded on the weekends with walkers, joggers, and bicyclists, so two sections of the parkway are closed to motor vehicles from 9 a.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday. One stretches from Old Carroll Avenue to Piney Branch Road in Takoma Park; the other is from Forest Glen Road in Forest Glen to University Boulevard West in Wheaton.

The trail ends in a residential area about 0.4 mile from a pedestrian entrance to the 530-acre Wheaton Regional Park, a popular family destination featuring a large playground, an ice rink, a fishing lake, picnic shelters, and even a merry-go-round and miniature train for the kids.

Parking and Trail Access

Montgomery County's public transit system provides access to the trail. Visit the MCDOT website for more information.

Parking for the Sligo Creek Trail can be found at numerous points along the trail. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions. Parking locations include:

Green Meadows Park (6301 Sligo Pkwy) in Hyattsville 

The Parklawn Recreation Building (1601 East–West Hwy) in Adelphi.

Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park (8101 Sligo Creek Pkwy) and Sligo Creek North Neighborhood Park (Sligo Creek Pkwy & Heather Ave) in Takoma Park.

Dale Drive Neighborhood Park (125 Dale Dr), Sligo-Dennis Avenue Local Park (10200 Sligo Creek Pkwy), Sligo–Dennis Avenue Local Park (10200 Sligo Creek Pkwy), and several Sligo Creek parking locations (201 Hilltop Rd, Silver Spring), (9210 Sligo Creek Pkwy), and (9300 Sligo Creek Pkwy) in Silver Spring.


Sligo Creek Trail Reviews

Nice little trail. could use some new pavement

Jogged this one recently from Forest Glen on down. Nice experience, a lot of construction going on in various areas. the asphalt is some areas is cracking, and had to watch my step.

Very nice trail, especially at the northern end.

Easily found parking at Green Meadows Park on a weekday, and went 'back' a mile or so to the south in order to start the trail at the very beginning. The overall trail is in very good shape, the only issues occurring when I ran into road or trail construction - not a trail issue (and eventually a trail benefit, I'd guess). While the entire trail is very nice (and not quite 10 miles, by my GPS) the southern end, where I started, is not as pleasant as the northern end - there's a few busy roads to cross that take away from the feeling of nature. (One peculiarity - when crossing Riggs Road at the pedestrian crosswalk, that has a 'push button to turn on flashing lights' button, you are unable to see the lights yourself - makes the whole 'safety' thing a bit dodgy as you're not sure when the cars are stopping for you. I used the crosswalk at the nearby cross street on my return). My only suggestion regarding the trail would be to put a few more trail signs - as a first-timer I felt the need to double check that I was still on the trail, using my bike GPS, quite a few times.

Lovely urban greenway

My partner and I walked the first section of the Sligo Creek Trail on New Year’s Day! We started near Arcola Elementary School, crossed University Ave and under the Beltway, and finished at Route 29. There is some nice signage along the way, including trail maps and some “interpretive trail” signs about wetlands, how rivers meander, etc. Since the trees were not leafed out it was easy to see the nearby houses in the neighborhood on one side and Sligo Parkway on the other. It was wonderful to follow the creek. Although the green buffer isn’t wide, I think it must be quite a different experience in full foliage, giving it a more “wooded” feeling.

At a moderate pace the first section took us about 1.5 hours, with a few stops to look at plants and trees, chat with other walkers, etc. It was a mild day but the trail was not crowded, I guess because folks weren’t up and out yet. We passed many other walkers and joggers, but saw very few bicyclists (other than tiny kids just learning how to ride), which was fine because we didn’t have to worry about getting mowed down.

When people say the “nicest part” of the trail is between University Ave. and New Hampshire I interpret that as code for the nicer, upper middle class neighborhoods in MoCo and corresponding parks budget. I’ve walked other trails in Prince Georges County (where I live) and don’t consider them less “nice” nor dangerous, though any trail walker needs to be alert in any case. The creek, of course, flows on its way and makes no distinction.

My goal is to do all of the Anacostia Tributary Trails (Sligo, Paint Branch, Northwest Branch) and eventually the main stem of the Anacostia down to Yards Park in DC.

the creek is absolutely beautiful. path is being renovated, but views override.

the creek is absolutely beautiful. path is being renovated, but views override.


Oasis Amid the Density

Treed trail along a creek in congested Montgomery County. It's a good thing.

Beautiful at points, but marred by the trappings of industrial society

At times beautiful, though unfortunately marred by the excessive traffic that travels along Sligo Creek Parkway. Some sections of Parkway are closed on Sundays, so this is a good time to use the trail. If you go during rush hour, your walk will be adulterated by endless traffic noises, and the parts of the trail that cross major roads will be tedious. The many bridge crossings are beautiful. I often see deer on this trail.

I would remind the review who complained about pedestrians that cyclists are supposed to yield to pedestrians, not the other way around. Also, even though signage isn't great, it's difficult to get off trail since it directly parallels the creek.

If it weren't for the blight of loud, dangerous traffic, this would be an A+ trail.


Many areas of the trail are in disrepair. There are a lot of tight spots where the trail is very narrow with signs bending over into the travel lane. If you're not paying attention, you could get whacked in the head or worse. They are in great need of signage. The trail is not clearly marked and we went off trail several times with out realizing. The pedestrians that use the trail are not considerate or just ignorant of moving over when bikes are passing. I lost count how many times the pedestrians were walking two across only allowing us to squeak by on an already narrow lane. I had a couple of close calls when a young lady insisted on walking on the wrong side and was head on with us cyclers and got mad at us! I don't think we'll do this trail again.

Beautiful day; beautiful trail

I've cycled in the metro area for 35 years, but discovered this trail only now while visiting a friend in Takoma Park. I agree with other reviewers that the best part of the trail is from New Hampshire Ave. to University Blvd (slightly uphill in this direction). Almost all the trail is in shade with sun only at the road crossings. The large road crossings are regulated by crossing signals (beware -- south of New Hampshire there are two major crossings "regulated" only by flashing lights. It serves as an opportunity for some motorists to honk and swerve around motorists who stop for cyclers).

The trail wasn't crowded on Labor Day Sunday so the narrowness was not a real issue. Even if it were more crowded it's not so narrow as to be dangerous. The twistiness of the trail is because of the numerous times the trail crosses Sligo Creek, which itself is quite lovely. All the bridge crossings are in good shape. And the right angle turns of many of these crossings means that cyclers are not going at top speed as you find on some other trails. Part of Sligo Creek Parkway is closed on Sundays now, which was a nice alternative to the path.

My only criticism is that because the trail right-angles often, and because there are many neighborhood entrances, it is easy to get off-trail since there is a lack of consistent signage.

Rode the entire trail today from Wheaton Regional Park to where it connects to the Northwest Branch Trail. I think the best part of the trail is between University Blvd. and New Hampshire Ave. I like the way the trail zig zags across Sligo Creek. Nice little bridges. Trail becomes more secluded beyond New Hampshire Ave. It's ok, but some riders may become nervous as the trail passes through more urban areas. I would say the trail is more suited for MTB or Hybrids as it can be a little bumpy at parts. Overall it was a good ride!

Sligo Trail Safety

My wife and I have biked this trail many times with no incident, or close calls with bikers, hikers or cars. The winding trail takes us to Lake Artemesia in College Park...this section of the trail is much more desirable than going from Colesville Road north up to Wheaton Regional Park (which is far more congested with foot/bike traffic). We probably average about 7-8 mph on the trail, using our Trek biking speed will be a factor in your experience.

Nice asphalt trail, but be careful

This trail is nicely surfaced with asphalt and seems in good condition. However, the trail is very winding and narrow, which combines in some places to make cycling on it quite dangerous and increasing the risk of collisions with other cyclists, walkers or even trees. Also, in the northern part of the trail the road intersections are very poorly designed - for example, at University Boulevard the cycle path ends at a pedestrian crossing, which is essentially a blind entrance on the northern side. This is extremely dangerous.

In my view the trail needs to be widened throughout, and where it crosses roads it should be treated as a road, not a sidewalk. As it is, the risk of conflicts with other users and with vehicles (both on the trail itself and at intersections) is high.

it's a very nice ride

This trail is an easy, fun ride that is just about perfect. It meanders along Sligo creek, and is a refreshing change for those of us who are used to the linear rail trails. There are a couple of dangerous at-grade road crossings, so be super careful. There are no places for food or water, bring what you need. The trail goes through some iffy neighborhoods but I didn't have any problem.

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