7 Great Hikes to See Fall Foliage Near DC

Montgomery County, Maryland has some of the most fantastic hiking opportunities near a major metropolitan area. With the beauty that comes with the changing seasons, here is our guide to the top seven hikes to see fall foliage near Washington, DC this fall.

Great Falls: Billy Goat Trail

The Billy Goat Trail is one of the most well-known hikes near Washington, DC – with good reason. Running along the Potomac River, the Billy Goat Trail is split into three sections totaling eight miles, all of which can be accessed off the towpath between Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center and Carderock. We recommend getting to the trailhead early to enjoy this easy hike with occasional mild rock-climbing in the morning light.

Seneca Creek Greenway Trail

The Seneca Creek Greenway Trail is a 25-mile trail in the Seneca Creek State Park connecting the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers. Close to home for those living in the metropolitan area, the trail serves as a nearby place for biking, hiking, and picnicking. The trail is paved and intersected by several roads with parking areas. Seneca Creek is an excellent option for those looking for an easy way to spend the day in nature.

Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, MD

Cabin John Regional Park Trails

This park offers over four miles of natural surface trails and approximately two miles of hard surface trails. The key trail in the park is the Cabin John Stream Valley Trail, which extends from the park all the way to MacArthur Blvd near the C&O Canal and Potomac River. From Tuckerman Lane, the trail extends north to Goya Drive. Unless noted otherwise on the map, trails marked “Natural Surface” and “Hard Surface” are “Shared by All” trails which includes hikers, bikers, and equestrians.

Sligo Creek Park

Sligo Creek is a free-flowing tributary of the Anacostia river in Maryland. Surrounded by woods and filled with trails, Sligo Creek Park is an excellent escape for anyone looking to get out of the city to breathe in fresh air and observe the beautiful foliage. The trails provide plenty of exploration for anyone looking for an adventure and hikers often report seeing various birds and other wildlife.

Black Hill Regional Park

With more than 2,000 acres to explore, Black Hill Regional Park is the perfect location for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities. The park surrounds Little Seneca Lake and is heavily wooded with both paved and unpaved trails. Take in the fall-colored foliage with gorgeous lake-side views just a short drive from the metroplex.

Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD (Guillermo Olaizola/Shutterstock)

Brookside Gardens

A nature lover’s dream, Brookside Gardens is Montgomery County’s award-winning public display garden, located in Wheaton Regional Park. The 50-acre park features a butterfly garden, aquatic garden, children’s garden, two conservatories, and more for year-round enjoyment. Trails are paved, making this an easy hike for those looking for something less strenuous.

Rock Creek Regional Park

One of the best spots for hiking in Montgomery County happens to be right in the middle of the metropolitan area. Rock Creek Park is a 2,000-acre piece of land set aside by Congress in 1890 to preserve the natural landscape. There are many trails to choose from in Rock Creek Park, but some of the more notable ones include Fort Circle Park, Pierce Mill, and Dumbarton Oaks.