Greenbelt Park is a quiet and fairly deserted park, just 12 miles outside of Washington, DC. This park has the major advantage of being accessible from public transportation; however, my friend ended up driving for our visit to the park. There is no entrance fee to the park so I didn’t actually need to use my annual pass. The park has camping, hiking, and picnic options. The parking area is with the picnic area.
We decided to walk the Perimeter trail, which is a 5.3 mile trail around the park. The trail is a loop and begins and ends at the front of the park, a bit away from a parking lot. There are many points where you can enter the trail, though. This trail is surprisingly green and beautiful and very shaded. It was perfect on a hot Memorial Day, and so much more peaceful than expected. We only walked past 8 people on our walk, although the picnic areas had a few people.
Greenbelt Park isn’t completely flat, but the elevation change throughout the park is essentially negligent. We did see people with hiking poles, but this is no more than an easy walk through a wooded area while dodging some puddles and mud. A few areas had wooded walkways even to avoid the mud.
The biggest issue we found was that the trail is labeled fairly poorly. There are lots of signs, but they are often in odd locations and well past forks in the trail. We ended up walking an extra mile along other misleading trails, but we weren’t in a rush to get off of the trail. However, if you have any kind of hiking app, we did find it helpful at the non-labeled forks. We did see some ticks, but we mostly stuck to the paths and didn’t have any issues.
Since Greenbelt is essentially a suburb of D.C., this isn’t a totally peaceful walk, as you are directly next to a parkway at multiple points. In a quick online search, you can find various conversations about the safety of the area. We saw two men acting pretty suspicious on our visit, but I felt perfectly safe with a friend.
If you are looking for a two to three hour wander through the woods, a picnic spot, or somewhere to camp near DC, then Greenbelt Park is a great place to stop. If you want to hit another National Park area, you can make your drive back to D.C. on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Thanks for reading my post, and thank you to my new followers as well! In an hour, I am heading to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to spend some time hiking with my parents’ favorite child, Hudson (AKA Sir Woofs A Lot). Hopefully we will have lots of fun and have plenty to report.