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Posted by Gregory Maassen on November 18, 2020 - Latest revision August 19, 2021  Reading time: minutes remaining

Trail 1 – DC: E-Biking from Peirce Mill to the Highest Point in the District

E-bike to the highest natural point in Washington DC

This 20-mile trail includes visits to historic sites, the world's 6th largest cathedral, two boathouses, and the highest natural point in Washington DC.

The trail runs from Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park down to the Potomac River and to the highest natural point in Tenleytown (410 feet difference in elevation). The Potomac is at sea level.

This trail has seven viewpoints. Use Google Maps or other app to navigate to each viewpoint. Click on Send to Device in the left top corner of the map (see below) to upload the trail to a smartphone.

Viewpoint 1: Peirce Mill and Barn in Rock Creek Park

The barn and mill were built by Issac Peirce, a millwright around 1829. The US Government bought the mill as part of Rock Creek Park in 1892. It was restored in 1936 for $26,614. The mill was used until 1958 to provide flour to government cafeteria.

Viewpoint 2: Rock Creek Park Nature Center

From the barn at Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park, the trail leads to the Rock Creek Park Nature Center.

The nature center is home to a planetarium that "uses high-tech Spitz software to project the image of the night sky onto a large, dome-shaped ceiling." The center also organizes evening stargazing sessions once a month. Entrance to the planetarium is free. 

Viewpoint 3: Thompson's Boathouse

From the Nature Center, the trail leads to Rock Creek Park Picnic Site #12, Bingham Drive NW. From the picnic site, bike to Ross Drive NW­. Once on top of the hill, the trail follows the Rock Creek Park Trail path to Thompson's Boathouse on the Potomac River.

Viewpoint 4: Fletcher's Boathouse and Cove

From Thompson's Boathouse, the trails follows the Capital Crescent Trail to Fletcher's Boathouse.

Viewpoint 5: Kreeger Museum

From Fletcher's Boathouse, the trail ascends to the Kreeger Museum, known for its 19th and 20th century paintings including works by Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, Chagall, Miro, and Stella. The museum also has sculptures on display in the garden. Reservations may be required. David Kreeger was President and CEO of Geico in the '60s and early '70s.

Viewpoint 6: National Cathedral

From Kreeger Museum, the trail continues to ascend towards the highest natural point in Washington DC.

It took over 83 years to build the Washington National Cathedral. It was damaged by an earthquake in 2011. The cathedral's architecture is described as an "American interpretation of 14th Century English Gothic."

Viewpoint 7: Point Reno

From the cathedral, the trail leads to the highest natural point in Washington DC called Point Reno (or Fort Reno) at an elevation of 409 feet. From Point Reno, explore its history on the Tenleytown Heritage Trail.

From Point Reno, return to Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park to complete the trail.

Trail Characteristics

A summary of trail characteristics

0%
Gravel Paths
40%
Flat Terrain
100%
Asphalt Roads
60%
Hills
Comfort Station Score 100%

Comfort stations are available at Peirce Mill at the beginning and Fletcher's Cove halfway along the trail.

Which E-bikes Are Allowed on this Route?*

trail

class I e-bike

CLASS II E-BIKE

CLASS III E-BIKE

Capital Crescent Trail in DC 

Rock Creek Park Trail

Other Roads - Asphalt

What Members Say About this Trail

Below is a summary of the pros and sometimes cons of this trail

Pros of the Trail

  • Many points of view on the trail
  • Good food options in Georgetown
  • Plenty of parking at Tilden Street at Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park
  • Accessible by Metro
  • Picnic tables and restrooms at Peirce Mill and Fletcher's Cove

Cons of the Trail

  • NA

Conclusion

E-Biking from Peirce Mill to Washington DC's highest natural point is a great opportunity to explorer lesser-known areas of the city. 


Have a picnic at Fletcher's Boathouse and read more about the history of Tenleytown near Point Reno. If you have time, reserve a ticket to the Kreeger Museum and visit the National Cathedral.

Did You Know?
Hillwood Estate, Museums & Gardens are only .5 miles from Peirce Mill

From Peirce Mill, ride up Tilden and take the first right on Linnean Ave., NW. Bike racks are located at the visitor center.

Hillwood Museum was the D.C. residence / mansion of Marjorie Merriweather Post. At the age of 27, she became the owner of the Post Cereal Company, which later became General Foods Corporation.

The mansion and its contents are spectacular. The gardens are stunning. The estate is well worth a visit before or after this ride.

*Please see the disclaimer before e-biking and using our trails and GPS files. Trail requirements were compiled on 16 Sep 2021, They may be incorrect and may have changed. 
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