Cabin John Trail: Rock Hop the Stream, Visit the Sand Bank & More

Cabin John Trail is a popular hiking trail near Potomac, MD. This is a beautiful place to take the family and spend time in the forest any time of the year.

While there are some ups and downs, it’s not a difficult trail and families can happily participate.

As the park is so close the beltway, I was concerned about being in nature but still being able to hear the traffic. Luckily that wasn’t the case especially with all the natural noise coming from the streaming water.

During the winter when the leaves have fallen, I did notice I was able to hear more traffic noise.

Covered Here:

What to Expect
Hiking Trail
Trail Map
Good to Know
Getting There
Things to Do Nearby

What to Expect on the Cabin John Trail

This hike is great for children five years and older. For children under five, you can hike a quarter of a mile on the trail to play in the bamboo forest and the sand bank along the stream.

Fair warning: kids love the stream and can spend lots of time here!

There is actually a lot to see and do on this trail including:

  • Walking along the stream
  • A bamboo forest along 75 yards of the trail
  • Some climbing obstacles on the trail
  • A shaded playground and picnic tables at the trail head

There are also 3 natural play spots along the stream:

  1. At the bottom of the first hill there is a rock beach
  2. A quarter of a mile on the trail is a sand bank
  3. 2/3 of a mile down the trail, you’ll find another rock beach, a large climbing boulder, and rock hopping across the stream

See? You can spend lots of time here!

Cabin John Trail in Potomac, MD
Source: Montgomery Parks

Hiking Trail

The Cabin John Trail is 2-miles out and back from Cabin John Local Park to Seven Locks Rd.

The trail head is next to the kiosk and playground.

While the trail is not jogging stroller friendly, it is good for kids. Do keep in mind, there are moderate up and down hills.

The trail follows the stream up and down along the stream valley.

Cabin John Trail Map

It’s a good idea to get oriented with the trail before you go so you have a better idea of what to expect.

Source: Montgomery Parks

You can download a copy of this map here.


The trail is open from dawn to dusk.

If it has recently rained a lot, it’s probably best to avoid the trail as it can get quite muddy. It’s common to still find mud a few days after run so definitely keep that in mind.

Good to Know Before You Go

  • The trail has some steep drop offs along the stream.
  • One port-a-potty at the trail head.
  • Follow the blue blazes on the trail. There are a few neighborhood feeder trails that intersect with the Cabin John Trail.
  • Only use the marked trails

Getting There

Cabin John Trail is located in Cabin John Regional Park at 7400 Tuckerman Ln, Bethesda, MD 20817.

There isn’t a lot of parking so if you plan on coming on weekends or holidays, it’s best to come early.

Things to Do Nearby

  1. Visit the Locust Grove Nature Center
  2. Head to nearby Cabin John Regional Park for more outdoor fun
  3. Bring your pet along and enjoy an afternoon walk at Cabin John Dog Park
  4. Find your zen as you do Tai Chi at Cabin John Park Tai Chi Court
  5. Make it extra fun for the kids and visit Cabin John Miniature Train
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OK Editorial Team

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