E-bike into the History of Early Settlement in Maryland
E-bike back into history with a visit to Meadowside Nature Center and enjoy views of Lake Frank and Lake Needwood in Rock Creek Regional Park. The trail is around 17 miles and includes a half-mile excursion on foot to the Pioneer Homestead at Meadowside Nature Center.
This trail has four 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: Veirs Mill Local Park
4425 Garrett Park Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20906
This small park is the starting point of the trail. It features a playground, lighted tennis courts, and a multi-use field. The parking lot's brick building is the Veirs Mill Park Activity Building, which is available to rent for a modest fee.
Viewpoint 2: Lake Frank
15211 Avery Rd, Rockville, MD 20855
From Veirs Mill Park, the trail follows Rock Creek to Lake Frank. The lake is a human-made 54-acre reservoir for watershed protection, floodwater retention, sediment control, and recreation. Construction took two years.
Viewpoint 3: Meadowside Nature Center
5100 Meadowside Ln, Rockville, MD 20855
From Lake Frank, the trail leads to the Meadowside Nature Center. Opened in 1972, the small but vibrant nature center is best known for its birding and eight miles of hiking trails that connect with Lake Frank.
Other attractions include a Pioneer Homestead and the Raptor Walkway with permanently injured, non-releasable birds of prey (raptors), including resident owls, hawks, vultures, and an American bald eagle.
Viewpoint 4: Lake Needwood
Rock Creek Regional Park, 15700 Needwood Lake Cir, Derwood, MD 20855
The 75-acre Lake Needwood is the midway point of the trail. Constructed in 1965, the lake is popular for its picnic stations, golf course, canopy tour, rental kayaks, rowboats, canoes, and pedal boats. As with Lake Frank, Lake Needwood is designed for watershed protection, floodwater retention, sediment control, and recreation.
The lake was devastated by a massive flood in June 2006, with water levels 22 feet above normal. Authorities evacuated more than 2,000 residents as the dam's base was leaking.
The pavilion with beautiful views of the lake near the boathouse is an excellent stop for a sandwich break before heading back to Veirs Mill on the Rock Creek Trail to complete the trail.
Did You Know?
Maryland does not have any natural lakes
Although Maryland once had a 160-acre, shallow periglacial lake, dating 19,000 - 14,000 years ago, all lakes in the state are nowadays human-made for water consumption (reservoirs), flood control and recreation.
A summary of trail characteristics
Comfort stations are available at Veirs Mills in the beginning and the nature center and Lake Needwood halfway along the trail.
Which E-bikes Are Allowed on this Route?*
class I e-bike
CLASS II E-BIKE
CLASS III E-BIKE
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
Cons of the Trail
E-Biking on Rock Creek Park Trail from Veirs Mill to the Meadowside Nature Center and two human-made lakes is a relaxing experience. Shielded from motorized traffic for most of the route, this easy trail is ideal for novice e-bikers and others who need an escape from city life and daily errands.
We are grateful to David Winer and Allan Starr for their suggestion to bike in this area.
Md.gov. (2021). Maryland’s Lakes and Reservoirs: FAQ. [online] Available at: http://www.mgs.md.gov/geology/maryland_lakes_and_reservoirs.html#:~:text=A1%3A%20Yes%2C%20there%20are%20no,Raven%20Reservoir%20in%20Baltimore%20County). [Accessed 7 Feb. 2021].
Montgomery Parks. (2021). Meadowside Nature Center - Montgomery Parks. [online] Available at: https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/rock-creek-regional-park/meadowside-nature-center/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2021].
Birders Guide to Maryland and DC. (2020). Frederick County Mid-winter Count. [online] Available at: https://birdersguidemddc.org/site/rock-creek-regional-park-meadowside-nature-center-lake-frank/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2021].
Montgomery Parks. (2021). Raptor Deck - Montgomery Parks. [online] Available at: https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/raptor-walkway/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2021].
Montgomery Parks. (2017). History - Montgomery Parks. [online] Available at: https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/rock-creek-regional-park/meadowside-nature-center/history/ [Accessed 29 Jan. 2021].
Washington Post. (2008). 2 Years After Flood's Wreckage, Lake Needwood Is Flourishing; Disaster Coverage Introduced Newcomers to Secluded Spot - ProQuest. [online] Available at: https://search-proquest-com.dclibrary.idm.oclc.org/docview/410272094/40DDA3ED79A34C1APQ/8?accountid=46320 [Accessed 29 Jan. 2021].
I have been biking the Rock Creek trail since it was build in the early 80’s and I find that the section between Veirs Mill Rd and Baltimore Rd is in poor condition with many tree roots making the path very bumpy. It had been repaired several years ago and it is back in the same bad condition as previously mentioned. The part of the trail in the District has been scheduled for upgraded over the next several years, but not the MD section. Every lake in MD is man made, there are no natural lakes in MD.
Hi Allan, good points. I have added information on human-made lakes in Maryland and the section between Veirs Mill Rd and Baltimore Rd. Thanks for pointing this out.