Trail Discovery for Kids: Greenbelt National Park

Hike Information

  • The Dogwood Loop is 1.1 or 1.4 miles depending on which loop you take. The trail is jogging stroller friendly with both natural surface and raised wood walkways over wet lowlands.
  • Perimeter (yellow blaze) to Blueberry (blue blaze) to Dogwood (red blaze) Trails circuit hike is 3.25 miles, a moderate hike with some hills.
  • The parking lot and trail head for both hikes is on Park Central Rd.
  • To do the 3.25 mile circuit hike, cross Park Central Road and do the circuit clockwise starting on the Perimeter Trail. At your first intersection after hiking up a hill, turn right and follow the trail with the Baltimore-Washington Pkwy on your left. After hiking for 1.5 miles, the Perimeter Trail intersects with Park Central Road. Follow the road to the left passed the ranger station and first camping loop. Turn right onto the Blueberry Trail at the trail sign. Keep right at the fork on the Blueberry Trail. When the Blueberry trail ends, turn right back onto the Perimeter Trail. Follow it for a mile and turn right onto the Dogwood Trail and bear left around the loop.
  • Link to the trail map.

Age Appropriateness

  • The Dogwood Loop is great for preschoolers due to the wide, flat trail and accessibility for jogging strollers. The Perimeter Trail 3.25 circuit hike is best for children ages 7 and older due to its length and moderate hill climbs.

What is fun for kids?

  • Hiking in a beautiful, deciduous ecosystem and oasis in an urban/suburban area.
  • On the Perimeter circuit, there are a few stream crossings with an opportunity to throw rocks and play in the stream.
  • Many benches along the trail to sit, listen, take-in the surroundings, rest and have a drink and snack.
  • Greenbelt has a campground. Campsites can be reserved for $16 per night.
  • There are many picnic areas in the park for a picnic lunch or dinner.
  • On the Dogwood Loop, there are a few vernal pools where amphibian activity can be seen and heard during the spring.

Caution

  • There is very little poison ivy but there are ticks. Wearing bug spray is advised, along with a tick check after the hike.

Hiking Along engages children in exploration of the natural world through hiking on scenic trails around the metro DC region. Groups of children, preschool to high school, participate in hands-on science activities to learn about the natural surroundings while hiking on trails. Visit www.hikingalong.com for more information.

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OK Editorial Team

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