Trail Discovery for Kids: Muddy Branch Trail

Hike Information

  • The Muddy Branch Trail is 9 miles long from River Road at Blockhouse Point to Route 28.
  • The River Road to Esworthy Road section is a 3.4 mile out and back hike.
  • The trail meanders through park land along the Muddy Branch and up and down the stream valley.
  • The hike’s gentle elevation gain and lose is 175 feet.
  • The trail crosses two Muddy Branch tributaries without bridges or stepping stones.
  • This trail is NOT jogging stroller passable.
  • Use the Blockhouse parking lot on River Road. The Muddy Branch trailhead is across River Road to the right of the gas pipeline right-of-way.
  • Link to the trail map.

Age Appropriateness

  • This hike is best for children six years or older due to the hills and stream crossings.

What is fun for kids?

  • The trail sits just above the Muddy Branch flood plain which has many vernal pools. Hiking this trail in March and April provides a great opportunity to see and hear many kinds of amphibians. Dawn and dusk are the best times to sit quietly and take in the action.
  • Multiple opportunities to play in or alongside the Muddy Branch and its tributaries.
  • About halfway, there is a great spot with some large boulders along the Muddy Branch to sit and have a picnic or a snack.


  • Gas pipeline is adjacent to the parkland.
  • No bathrooms or trash cans; pack-in, pack-out your trash.
  • Feet may get wet during the two stream crossings.

Have you hiked this trail? If you have comments and would like to share with the Our Kids readers, email Our Kids.

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 for more information.

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