I ran somewhere new every month in 2019, ending with some Montgomery County trails

A trail goes through large rocks.
Here’s a view from early on in my trek from the Burnt Mills East Special Park. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Each month of 2019, I’d followed through with my goal and ran in a new-to-me location. But I’d gotten to Christmas Day without running somewhere new in December.

I’d been at my aunt and uncle’s house the evening of Christmas and stayed over before heading back to Salisbury the next morning. I was talking to them about how I planned to run somewhere on the way back from their house, and my uncle suggested a trail off Route 29. One of them mentioned that it was really rocky at the beginning, and my aunt said I would see two brick buildings on either side of the road.

A small waterfall is shown, with rocks on either side.
I saw this waterfall from the trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

The parks are Burnt Mills East Special Park and Burnt Mills West Special Park. I decided to visit the one they’d gone to, on the left side of the road from where I was heading — Burnt Mills East Special Park.

I passed it the first time around, and the parking lot was empty aside from some construction equipment and employees.

Much of the trail followed the water. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I checked out the map on a kiosk and decided to go to the right, toward the rocks. This map that I found online (page 3) seems to most clearly outline where I ran: I went on the Fall Line Trail, then the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail, and then the Northwest Branch Trail.

The first part of the trail was so rocky that it took me about eight minutes to go a little more than 0.2 miles. I did also stop for photos, but even without the photos, I think it would have taken at least five minutes to climb between the rocks.

Close up of tree with trail marking on it, with the photo also showing a single track trail through the woods.
Here’s a view from the single track portion of my run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

After that, I followed a dirt trail along the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River. The trail later became a single track trail with lots of ups and downs. I decided to run two miles out and two miles back, and by the time I got to about 1.75 miles out, the trail became a paved trail. Judging by the map I linked to above, this appears to be where the trail became the Northwest Branch Trail.

Once I hit two miles on my watch, I turned around and headed back the way I came. There were other offshoots of the trail, too, some of which I think were connectors to neighborhoods. Right before I entered the rocky area to get back to my car, I saw a swing with a thick wooden branch to sit on, which I hadn’t noticed on my way out. I sat there and swung just a little (because I wanted to make sure I didn’t break it) before heading back.

Thin trail surrounded by many trees.
Here’s another view of the single track area. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

In just two miles one-way, I got to experience various terrains, and I enjoyed this run/hike. I wouldn’t recommend heading here for a fast run, but it’s definitely a fun one.

The trail is located at 10701 Columbia Pike in Silver Spring. I hope to get a chance to check out the trails in Burnt Mills West Special Park, sometime, too!

Here’s a view from the paved portion of the trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I set a goal to travel to at least one new-to-me place for a run each month of 2019. Here are the other places I’ve traveled to for runs this year:

Selfie of Vanessa Junkin sitting on a wooden swing.
Here I am on the swing I found along the trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

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