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North Branch Hiker-Biker Trail


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Project Description

This project involved the development a facility plan for the North Branch Hiker-Biker trail that was approved by the Planning Board on June 27, 2013. The facility plan includes an analysis of the site’s environmental, cultural and visual features, a 30% complete preferred plan for the, a determination of regulatory feasibility, and a cost estimate for the project. The project is in final design to produce a set of construction documents.  The proposed trail will be located within both the Rock Creek Regional Park and the North Branch Stream Valley Park Unit 4 and is approximately 2.2 miles in length including connectors. The project is proposed in the parks’ Capital Improvements Program FY15-20 (CIP) to obtain funding for construction.

The south end of the proposed trail will connect to the Lakeside trail located on the east side of Lake Frank within Rock Creek Regional Park.  Construction in this vicinity will include the removal of unused roads and parking lots. Click here to view maps and details of the Rock Creek Regional Park’s trail system.

The trail will continue north to connect with Muncaster Mill Road and cross at the Emory Lane intersection. Park staff will coordinate with Maryland State Highway Administration and Montgomery County Department of Transportation (DOT) to improve the intersection of Muncaster Mill Road and Emory Lane to improve the crossing safety. The trail will utilize the Emory Lane and the ICC Bikeways to connect to a future trail that is being built by a developer in the Preserve at Rock Creek Development. Coordination with DOT has occurred to complete the Emory Lane Bikeway.  Accessible trailhead parking will be provided along with interpretative signage and other amenities. Improved connections to the Meadowside Nature Center are also proposed.


The North Branch Trail is one segment of a continuous regional park trail system that would extend from the District of Columbia to Olney through the Rock Creek and North Branch stream valleys.  The hiker-biker trail system through Lake Frank and the North Branch of Rock Creek has been recommended in multiple master plans for many years, including the 1978 Master Plan of Bikeways, the 2005 Olney Master Plan, the 1985 and 2004 Upper Rock Creek Area Master Plan, the 1998 and 2008 Countywide Park Trails Plan, the 2000 Rock Creek Regional Park Master Plan, and the 2008 Upper Rock Creek Trail Corridor Plan.

Status/Project Update

Construction documentation began in the Fall of 2013, following Planning board approval of the project’s Facility Plan. The project is still in the construction documentation phase.

In Fall of 2015, the North Branch Hiker Biker Trail project was awarded a $2 million grant through the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). More information about TAP can be found here. The conditions of the grant require that this project begin construction by the fall of 2017.

Calendar and Meeting Notes

Links to review meeting notes and Planning Board memos are attached to each applicable calendar event.

September 2011 Project initiated  
September 19, 2012
7 - 9 p.m.
Community Meeting to be held to review possible alignments
- Community Meeting Public Notice
- Community Meeting slide presentation
Shady Grove Maintenance Yard
Training Room, Building B
16641 Crabbs Branch Way
Rockville, MD 20855
Fall 2012 Refine preferred plan, obtain preliminary permits, develop cost estimate  
June 27, 2013 Planning Board approved the facility plan
Montgomery Regional Office
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Fall 2013 Final design initiated  
Fall 2015 Project awarded $2 million grant through the Federal Hwy Adminstration Alternatives Program. View the conditions here.  
Prior to the
Fall of 2017
Construction to began  

M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Aaron Feldman, Project Manager

Date of last update: February 3, 2016