Trail Description: The Anacostia River Trail begins in Cottage City, Maryland, at the split of the Anacostia River into its northeast and northwest branches. Those traveling south on either the Northeast Branch Trail or Northwest Branch Trail can seamlessly join the Anacostia River Trail, which continues southward ever closer to the Maryland/District of Columbia border. All three trails, along with several others, are part of the larger Anacostia Tributary Trail System. The flat, barrier-free trail system is designed for a wide variety of users, and a signage system with mile markers assists with location awareness. The trail system links several neighborhoods to Metro stations, but commuters needing to travel at speeds greater than 12 miles per hour should consider alternative routes.
Trail Location: 5240 Paint Branch Parkway College Park, MD 20740
Trail Length: 2-4 miles
Counties: Prince George’s
Trail Surface(s): Pavement.
Parking and Trail Access: Parking for the Anacostia River Trail can be found at Colmar Manor Community Park. The entrance to the park is located on 37th Avenue just south of Bladensburg Road. Across the river, parking is available at Bladensburg Waterfront Park; enter the park at the intersection of Annapolis Road/State Route 450 and 46th Street.
Seasonal Restrictions: See website
Reviews and Tips: Starting from the north, the Anacostia River Trail runs through a mixture of open space and forest along the river’s shoreline. The trail crosses under busy Bladensburg Road/US 1 and passes the backyards of residences in the town of Colmar Manor before the route splits into two parts. Continue on the west side of the river, and your journey will quickly end at Colmar Manor Community Park, which features playgrounds, a picnic pavilion, ball fields and an equestrian trail.
If you opt to take the bridge over the Anacostia River before the park, you will wind up in Bladensburg’s Waterfront Park. The popular park contains restrooms, a water fountain, playground, picnic pavilion and boat rentals, and used to be the southern endpoint of the trail. However, a recent extension southward leads the trail past industrial properties and into more open space along the river. The trail then ends abruptly in a wetland restoration area, which is a great spot for wildlife and bird watching.
In the near future, a northern extension of the District of Columbia’s Anacostia Riverwalk Trail will directly link the two riverside trails via a route under US 50 and an Amtrak corridor and through the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. When completed, trail users will be able to travel uninterrupted from Prince George’s County to just south of the National Mall on a network of paved off-road pathways.
Amenities: Various, some areas have restrooms.